Katy Fike’s ASA 2014 speech on “Aging in Place” Technology

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I have a deep respect for my fellow colleague in the “Aging in Place” technology, entrepreneurial, and start-up sector, Ms. Katy Fike.  I was honored to have her and 2 other industry professionals on a national webinar with EtMM about 18 months ago, and boy has she taken off since!

While we here at ADM Architecture and EtMM are focused on “Empowering Housing” for Aging-in-Place through good planning, Universal Design, and even Urban Planning for cities / towns / counties to consider “adaptable homes” and the “visit-ability” movement with developers and builders nation-wide, she is a rising public figure and PhD in Gerentology, and a visionary in the booming (pun intended) segment of looking at a new paradigm for delivery of home and health care in the 21st Century via startup companies in the tech sector.  More on that can be found at her website Aging2.0.  Here’s a segment from her 2014 speech at the ASA conference in San Diego.  It’s worth your time to hear it out…

Now onto some of those technologies that Katy is bringing out of the woodwork and into the limelight, syncing companies like these and making connections with the investors and other team members those start-ups require to get off the ground at out the door into the marketplace.

She starts with the concept that today we are all walking around with “super-computers” in our pockets, compared to just 30 years ago when a “mainframe” took up ROOMS of space… What kind of leverage are we getting out of that ability of technology being with us and within reach (I won’t get into the “downsides” of 24/7 plugged-in issues here), to increase our “productivity” and “connectivity” in the health care world?  Enter DIGITAL & MOBILE HEALTH.  

Some of the terminologies and technologies that are now in play for you and your loved ones, which were completely unavailable just 10 years ago, are things like:



Tele-health: Being brought into the home and viewable/controllable/accessible on the go…

Wearables: Envisioning the future of healthcare through wearable technology – monitoring and tracking of our bodies, on our bodies, anywhere our body is…

Smart Homes: Creating “Intelligent” appliances, thermostats, video cameras, security systems, light switching and temperature control from your cell phone, and the list goes on… even up to studies being done on creating gait alteration monitoring in your flooring system / carpet fibers which would alert your caregiver’s smart phone should you “stumble” on the way to the restroom during the night!  And “fabs” on your refrigerator and pill box letting someone who loves you know you are going about your “daily routine” from afar.

Remote home control


So what types of entrepreneurs and companies are looking to jump in and help us all with our striving for a continued longevity of independence and autonomy in our ADLs (Activities of Daily Living, an Occupational Therapists acronym) late into our retirement years?  We wanted to give you a few examples here of folks that are doing amazingly forward-thinking and inventive work.  (I’ll address in a different / future blog what some of them are missing about how you “message” to the Boomer Consumer to invite them to get to know you and your product/service, how you gain long term loyalty through education that builds credibility which leads to trust and rapport, and how you have to understand which type of product and brand you are to them and for them as a group and as each individual buyer… but for now, the innovations!)



Lift Ware – “Eat with confidence again”.  Liftware is a stabilizing handle and a selection of attachments that include a soup spoon, everyday spoon, and fork. Liftware is designed to help people with hand tremor eat more easily.

High Tech Wheelchairs – WHILL is the “Ability Chair” not the DIS-ability… SMART and COOL!

On Demand Housekeeping App (same day $20/hr and ordered from your phone while you are away) – WOW.  If that doesn’t change the way you consider how we might be engaging companies in the future… *Mind-Blowing* to think you can order via phone, and will probably be able to certify who they are at the door, and unlock the door from work (mobile house cameras on them, of course) so you can do the laundry you forgot, or get the groceries delivered and put into the ‘fridge… just imagine.

Google Car Drives Blind Man – of course, we have to solve TRANSPORTATION.  Who wouldn’t want to postpone the moment we have to “take away the keys” from your folks, or have to hang up your own… NO ONE is



There are also industry products and services around bathing, toileting, hygiene, and many other “aging” products and service companies.  Whether it’s about how you shower, or who can clean your gutters and pick up your dog’s “deposits” in the yard – trust me, someone is working on a solution they think will work, right now, for the Boomer Consumer and their family in the decades ahead.

I agree with Katy, I don’t think tech can replace people for care-giving our other services completely, especially those that require medical and compassionate attention to another person.  But there is and can be a good place for it to fit in where it’s strengths can overcome our own weaknesses.

So although I do have separate thoughts on some mistakes in the approach and messaging of some companies, or a lack of understanding of their clients and demographic they are trying to serve… I’ll save that for another post or you can learn more about that platform for small business education in serving the sector over at AgeInPlace for Small Business where we have a ton of free resources and also our small business newsletter & weekly video podcasts.

But for now, I will simply say THANK YOU to KATY FIKE, and to ALL of the ENTREPRENEURS who are working hard to make a difference in our new longevity 1/3 of life that we didn’t have 100 years ago, and all of it’s brand new challenges and opportunities.  Without vision and creativity, coupled with guts, gusto, blood, sweat, and tears… NO invention or new idea would make it to market, and NOBODY would EVER MAKE A DIFFERENCE in someone else’s life …  KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK EVERYONE!  Cheers!

(email me at info@EmpoweringTheMatureMind.com if you want info about accessing the National “Understanding the Boomer Consumer” Live Webinar we did with Katy – it’s still available as a recording, for purchase at an insanely affordable price, from our EtMM archives).

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