Senior Health June 14, 2023
Senior Health June 14, 2023

Investing in AgeTech: Serving the Growing Senior Health Market

Improving the healthcare experience for seniors has been a major focus for innovation over the past decade. But many factors underscore the need for continued progress including the growing 65+ population, increasing life expectancy and the prevalence of high-cost conditions. 

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Technology is a key part of the solution. Cue: the rise of AgeTech, a frontrunner in the growing senior health market. This category of technology and tech-enabled solutions is designed to support older adults, as well as their caregivers and providers. 

Common aspects of AgeTech solutions include:

  • Hybrid care that offers both virtual and in-person options

  • Treatment plans that support patient independence and provide wraparound care

  • Models that rely on targeted engagement of seniors

  • Care approaches that better integrate family members and other caregivers

  • Innovations that allow for aging in place, safely and with dignity

The AgeTech landscape has matured significantly over the past decade, especially with its newfound focus on the patient experience. Health and wellness startups have driven advancements in remote monitoring, digital medication management, and smart home and smart apparel applications, as well as enabling services for providers and caregivers.

A Holistic Approach to Senior Health

The current wave of AgeTech solutions are taking a nuanced, holistic approach to health, while also addressing social determinants such as housing security, nutrition, safety, and community and social engagement. These tools are reducing friction along the healthcare journey, driving meaningful improvements in health outcomes and patient satisfaction. 

That’s crucial given how frequently many seniors engage the healthcare system due to chronic diseases and comorbidities. Such conditions are increasingly costly, with the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy estimating that Medicare’s annual spending on acute care will reach $260 billion in 2030

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Future Opportunities in AgeTech

Redesign Health has launched Operating Companies specifically focused on the senior population. We see opportunities to further improve the patient experience for seniors, particularly those who use Medicare. Some of these opportunities include hybrid business models that prioritize patient engagement, particularly in specialty niches such as mental health. 

We’re seeing six major trends shape the development of AgeTech solutions:

  • 1. Tech-savvy seniors

    Older adults are commonly misconstrued as a monolithic demographic with little tech know-how, instead our research reveals that seniors today are more independent, tech-enabled and engaged than past generations. This cohort broadly embraces new tech, especially when purpose-built with their specific needs, goals and preferences in mind. 

  • 2. Valuing autonomy

    Our research suggests that older adults feel pervasive optimism about what they’re capable of and what life looks like for them. They often feel younger than they are, and they commonly feel misrepresented by healthcare solutions and ads that evoke an outdated vision of what it means to grow older. 

  • 3. Independence without isolation

    In our research, 4 in 5 older adults at high risk of isolation say that planning to lose their independence is more emotionally difficult than planning for their funeral service. Seniors value staying connected and engaged with peers, pointing to a demand for community-engagement and other recreational networks. 

  • 4. Aging in place

    Seniors strongly desire the ability to age in place, and these preferences are driving investments into technologies that enable care in the home, including hospital at home models, remote patient monitoring and smart home alerts. Similarly, loved ones and caregivers are driving a demand for tools that enable them to be engaged in care plans as well as those that keep seniors safe from scams.

  • 5. Incremental support

    Seniors currently receive the most help with tasks like housework, cleaning, laundry, maintenance and yard work. This suggests that they’re looking for help that is flexible and incremental–as much or as little as they need. They also want options that enhance their lives, rather than limit their independence.

  • 6. Trustworthy, adaptable caregiving options

    Seniors express concerns around trusting new people. They prioritize safe consistent care. Communicating these attributes is crucial to gaining trust and adoption of new solutions.

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Serving the Behavioral Health Needs of Older Adults 

Redesign Health is also working to address older adults’ mental and behavioral health needs. We recently surveyed nearly 1,500 people aged 65 and older and learned that many seniors live with mental health conditions while coping with significant life events:

  • Older adults experience high rates of mental illness: Results showed that 71% of participants live with mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, loneliness, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), bipolar disorder or adjustment disorder. Many also live with chronic pain, which can further impact their quality of life and mental health.

  • Older adults experience triggering life events at an exceptionally high frequency: Nearly three-quarters of participants reported a triggering life event in the past year, such as a visit to the emergency room, receiving a new medical diagnosis for themselves or a loved one, experiencing the death of a loved one or giving up forms of independence, such as surrendering a driver’s license or accepting in-home care services.

  • Many older adults are coping with both triggering life events and mental health concerns: Over 50% of respondents had recently experienced a triggering life event while also living with a mental health condition.

One of our stealth companies is building a virtual-first behavioral health solution for the Medicare-age population. Using a hybrid care delivery model and senior-oriented user experience, this Operating Company will increase access to quality behavioral health services and deliver more effective interventions for older adults.

Our research indicates that the market for senior-focused behavioral solutions remains largely untapped, placing Redesign Health in a prime position to significantly impact the healthcare journeys of America's aging population.

Building a dynamic ecosystem for healthier aging

Redesign Health has launched several Operating Companies that serve a variety of needs across the senior demographic: 

  • DUOS: Empowering independence

    The needs of older adults can vary dramatically, and one-size-fits-all solutions won’t work for such a broad population. Instead, health and support services must respond dynamically as health needs evolve.

    Seniors are looking for help that is incremental (as much or as little as they need) and in areas that enhance their lives instead of restricting their ability to live independently. This includes areas like housework, yard work, laundry, and home maintenance.

    DUOS, built at Redesign Health, is helping empower seniors to maintain agency and independence as they grow older. DUOS pairs older adults with a personal assistant who uses purpose-built AI technology to help clients access precisely the services and resources they need, at exactly the right time. As a result, they get the help they need while maintaining the independence they want.

  • Together Senior Health: supporting cognitive well-being  

    1 in 9 seniors are living with Alzheimer’s or dementia (ADRD). These seniors - and their caregivers - struggle with quality of life and independence while their medical costs skyrocket.  Research shows that older adults want resources that enable connection, cognitive health, and dementia support.

    Together Senior Health, a company built at Redesign Health, provides evidence-based solutions for seniors with ADRD and other forms of cognitive decline. Patients connect with other seniors through live-streamed classes that are focused on physical movement, balance and coordination, and social connection. These programs can help seniors maintain their health and independence while reducing the total cost of care for health plans or value-based care delivery organizations.

  • Keen: personalized Medicare support

    Though many seniors wish to maintain their independence, they’re also safety-conscious and seeking protection from abuse or scams. This highlights the demand for services that not only support vulnerable adults but also safeguard them from fraud.

    Our Operating Company Keen is leveraging the power of trust-based relationships. Keen combines personalized support with purpose-built technology to help Medicare-eligible customers find the right Medicare plan.

    Keen advisors develop long-term relationships with their clients, providing a direct and personal connection for aging adults. This personal relationship is augmented by custom-built technology that enables customers to connect with their Keen advisor easily and friction-free.

Final Thoughts

As healthcare costs escalate for America’s fastest-growing demographic, policymakers and healthcare systems must examine new technologies and smarter workflows that can help improve patient outcomes and experience, while reducing total cost of care. 

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Within this landscape, there are significant opportunities for investment and innovation that target engagement-driven solutions for older adults. Areas like behavioral health and care coordination services hold considerable potential, particularly as the Medicare Advantage population continues to grow. With the right implementation, AgeTech can equip seniors — and their ecosystem of caregivers and providers — with the tools they need, when and how they want to use them.