Aging in Place Market Landscape from a Cable Operators Perspective

By  Sudheer Dharanikota, Ayarah Dharanikota, Dennis Edens, Bruce McLeod

July 19, 2021

What is the Problem?

How can a cable operator address the aging in place (AIP) market space? Where are different AIP players, and how can service provider differentiate themselves?

Key Takeaways

We make the following recommendations to the service provider:

  • Develop end to end solutions
  • Bring communication expertise to AIP
  • Integrate different AIP related devices
  • Extend their back-office solutions to AIP
  • Create a marketplace for AIP caregivers
  • Develop purpose driven analytics

Executive Summary

By 2034, the elderly population (65+ years of age) in the United States will outnumber children (up to 18 years of age) [1]. In the US by 2060,  the Census Bureau projects [1] that there will be 95 million people who are above 65 years of age. Additionally, the reduction in nuclear family size for this cohort implies that the population of family members available to serve as unpaid caregivers for the elderly is significantly going to be reduced compared to previous generations. Such changing demographics are creating significant stress on the healthcare system but are fostering inter-industry innovations. To counter healthcare costs, increase convenience, and increase independence the elderly is more and more preferring to stay longer at their primary residence. This concept of staying at home longer is commonly known as aging in place (AIP). AIP is strongly desired amongst seniors, but with a decreasing number of family caregivers, other options will be needed to address care. According to Forbes [2], the current AIP market for those over 50 years of age is $7.1 trillion, which is 46% of the US economy. With the elderly population continuing to grow, Forbes projected that by the year 2032 the market will be $13.5 trillion. The World Health Organization has also recognized that an environment that has cultivated support through “the built environment, people and their relationships, attitudes, and values, health and social policies” is key to healthy aging. For many people, this cultivated environment is their home.

A few benefits that come with AIP are maintaining independence, a familial environment, a healthy and safer environment, and lower cost. While staying at home, it is easy for the elderly to create a day-to-day routine that they can manage compared to if they were living in assisted living. This sense of control allows for an increased sense of independence. With a familial environment to lean on, elderly individuals have a place to look for comfort and security. They have created a space that is unique to themselves which may be difficult to achieve at a nursing home or an assisted living facility. It is also important to note that the elderly in nursing homes or assisted living facilities contracted COVID at higher rates and are faced with more adverse symptoms because of both their age and potential underlying conditions. Some may prefer living in the comfort of their homes without fear of potential exposure. Lastly, in terms of cost, nursing homes or assisted living facilities can cost anywhere between $10K to $20K per year for a shared room and $75K per year for a private room. Elderly individuals living at home can save thousands of dollars in comparison. But to solve this complex problem of AIP, one needs to understand the requirements, integrate different relevant technologies, and manage these services for faster adoption. These topics are extensively discussed in [3][4].

With many converging industries playing into aging in place, companies have found niches to address. Some companies have decided to focus on caregiving services, cell phone plans for seniors, or even unique telehealth solutions for the home. None of them has addressed all of the needs of the AIP market, causing solutions to be highly fragmented and hence not completely adaptable. The following paper will look at 18 companies (the US and International) whose mission is making living at home for seniors easier through the lens of their technology, service, and business models. We analyze and compare these companies with the goals of adoption using a framework developed in this paper. Finally, we make recommendations on where the cable operators should focus if they want to succeed in entering AIP services.

Key Words: Aging in place, AIP, telecom for healthcare, unified communications, IADL