New research from Parks Associates’ COVID-19: Impact on Seniors, Caregivers, and Independent Living Solutions finds nearly 33% of US seniors (ages 65 and older) are considering purchasing an independent living system. This interest follows a trend of increasing technology adoption among the 65+ US population—34% have a smart speaker or smart display and 76% personally use a smartphone.
Parks Associates is tracking short- and long-term impacts of the pandemic on consumer behaviors, attitudes, and intentions in the connected health and independent living markets. COVID-19: Impact on Seniors, Caregivers, and Independent Living Solutions quantifies the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on seniors and family caregivers, assessing concerns, pain points, and demand for technology products and services.
“High levels of interest in particular features, including safety and security functions, indicate demand for a solution designed specifically for senior comfort and control,” said Kristen Hanich, Senior Analyst, Parks Associates. “These seniors show a strong preference for companies specializing in independent living systems when seeking out a purchase channel, so they are looking for companies that are well versed and very familiar with the unique challenges that come with aging independently, especially as they bring new technologies into the home.”
The research notes COVID-19 introduced new challenges to seniors and caregivers both. Senior telehealth usage nearly quadrupled year-over-year, with 29% of seniors reporting use of telehealth usage in May, up from 6% in 2019. The most popular service types used were phone calls and video chats, while 11% report using self-diagnosis apps. Increase in telehealth service usage was driven by changes in Medicare reimbursement and the rollout of remote visit functionality among seniors’ existing physicians. Health insurers and telehealth services also quickly moved to support this cohort, communicating with their members that these visits were covered.
“Telehealth specialist companies rapidly moved to support Medicare Part B, with Doctor On Demand very quickly rolling out a solution soon after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid expanded Medicare telehealth reimbursement,” Hanich said. “We are seeing a greater willingness on the part of seniors to try and adopt new technology.”
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