There’s plenty of IT around to help the elderly—medical alert devices, medication reminder apps, Wi-Fi enabled scales and blood pressure cuffs, touchscreens with big buttons for Skyping with the grandkids—but one observer thinks there could be much more and better technology with a few commonsense tweaks to the paradigm. One, stop thinking of “the elderly” as a homogeneous and technophobic group, because for every 85-year-old who avoids newfangled gadgets, there are several who won’t go anywhere without their iPad. And second, don’t let young people have a monopoly on designing the products.

“The whole space of technology is being designed by the young,” says Laurie Orlov, proprietor of the Aging in Place Technology Watch Web site ( She worked in IT for 24 years and was an analyst for Forrester Research ( for nine years. She earned a certification in geriatric care management, and along the way realized that she was uniquely suited to analyze how technology can help aging people stay in their own homes. She started blogging on the subject in 2008, and in 2009 launched her own consulting business.

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