Aging populations present prime market for healthcare technology

Elderly consumers and their caregivers present a growing opportunity for emerging technology aimed at health and medical care.

The 85 million elderly are described as the "active aging market," in a new report from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA). Older generations represent a $24.4 billion market this year, and that figure will jump to $42.7 billion by 2020, reflecting a 12 percent annual growth rate, according to an announcement. The report says there are 40 million caregivers at present.

The market is prime for technologies supporting a proactive living approach that encompasses growing old while striving for an active quality of life.

"These innovative, connected technologies not only enable seniors to live safer, healthier and longer lives ... they also allow their caregivers to be more closely connected while they care for their aging loved ones," Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of CTA, says in the announcement.

But whether elderly patients will be able to capitalize on emerging mHealth tools and devices remains unclear. A University of Waterloo study found that weak computer skills, poorly designed user interfaces and the lack of a compelling reason to use mHealth tools are barriers to use of mHealth by older patients. Fostering mHealth tech adoption among the older and chronically ill will require strategic efforts by developers and device makers, FierceMobileHealthcare previously reported.

According to the CTA report, 76 million Baby Boomers will hit the age of 65 in the next two decades, while the people who make up the Silent Generation are expected to live longer than ever before.

That scenario, the report's authors write, will ignite a big demand for senior services and presents a ripe environment for Internet of Things and smart home technology geared toward healthy behavior and personal health.

"As the demographics in the U.S. and around the world shift toward an older population, technology will allow seniors to live healthier, more connected lives, and keep them more engaged with their families and communities," Steve Ewell, executive director of the CTA Foundation, said in the announcement.

For more information:
- read the announcement