As boomers get older, there’s hope they’re getting wiser, but either way, folks over 50–like everyone else–are always looking for ways to make life easier, faster, simpler…just plain better. Fortunately, because the baby boom generation arguably is and likely always will be the most powerful spending force in world history, entrepreneurs all over the world are working to satisfy those very desires. Below are a few recent innovations: safety, hearing help, convenience seafood, and massage-on-call.
Personal safety starts feeling a bit more relevant as boomers age. A product that’s recently come out sounds useful in that regard and fairly easy to use. LifeFone is an app you download to your smartphone that lets you push a button and summon immediate help no matter where you are in the U.S. or what time it is.
You don’t need to speak—unlike 911, the system automatically knows who you are and will send any medical and personal information you’ve supplied to first responders. The company says it is often able to locate a user even more precisely than 911.
In case of an accidental activation—or if you just change your mind—you have a 5-second delay with a visual countdown that lets you abort an activation. You customize your own response protocol when you set up the system, so the central station personnel know how to respond in specific circumstances.
The professional monitoring facility maintains your personal information, including a picture, and is aware in advance of any known medical, threat, or other issues (e.g., say you are susceptible to stroke, have severe allergies, are choking, or have verbal communication challenges).
Visit LifeFone.com powered by SmartTek. A new subscriber pays $7.95/month or $9.95/month for LifeFone Family Guard.
If you’re older than 45, there’s about a one in five chance you suffer from some amount of hearing loss–and that rate climbs steadily as you age, says an article on hearing aids in Consumer Reports. Almost one-third of people ages 65 to 74 report difficulty hearing, and the number rises to about half at 75, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.
A new product called The Bean may work for someone who’s not quite ready for a pricey hearing aid. Rather than a hearing aid, it’s a soft-sounds amplifier. It has a slim profile and is worn completely in the ear—some folks have reported a little trouble getting the close-fitting Beans out, but say once you learn to twist them just right, it’s not a problem.
The device is designed to allow speech to come through more clearly while allowing louder sounds to pass through without change. Somewhat like a pair of reading glasses, it’s meant to be used only when a situation calls for it. No medical referral or prescription needed, and there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee. The cost for these ready-to-wear devices, at $375 each or $700/pair, is significantly less than hearing aids (the company recommends wearing in both ears for best results). Visit the manufacturer’s site for more information. www.etymotic.com
Fast, easy, sustainable seafood pouches
Just as freshly pre-cooked tuna in long-life refrigerator pouches has begun to outshine the canned version in many consumers’ minds, a new company called Fishpeople has introduced a line of seafood-related soups, in long-life pouches. They recently sent out a few samples to try.
On first impression, from the picture on its pouch, the Albacore Tuna Thai Coconut Lemongrass Entree looked to contain a full meal. It turned out instead to be a creamy sauce with tiny bits of tuna that’s designed to be poured over your own choice of vegetable or starch. Elegant, creamy and flavorful, as were the two soup samples (Dungeness Crab Bisque and Alder Smoked Wild Salmon Chowder—the only pouch that contains chewable-sized chunks of potato and salmon). If you eat a whole pouch yourself, they are a bit high in calories (~300) and sodium (500 mg) per 10-ounce pouch. But if you use them as “meal starters” and spread it out over a couple of servings, it’s not too bad.
They have also recently introduced a new line called Comfort Seafood Meals (CSM) that do contain a starch.
Massage on call
A lot of boomers have come to appreciate the profound benefits of a good massage. Soothe.com operates on the idea that people need massages when they need them—and should be able to have one very soon after they’ve decided to get one. Soothe.com, which just opened its Chicago branch this summer, says they can get you a massage therapist on your premises—office, home, hotel, or wherever—usually within 60 minutes. You pay a set fee ($99 one hour, $139 for an hour and a half) and there is no tipping expected or required. This is a revolutionary idea.
During a complimentary sample service, the work of therapist Andrel was impressive. A recent graduate of Cortiva Institute in Chicago, she delivered an excellent 90-minute sports massage. When you sign up, you create a profile online in which you describe any injuries or issues a therapist should be aware of, and you also describe the parking situation at your premises. This way the therapist knows what to expect and how to reach you most efficiently. Customers are asked to reimburse the therapist for any parking fees.
The special feature of the company, according to them, is that they pay their therapists a higher rate for their work, thus allowing them to contract with higher-caliber therapists.
The therapist was late, and happily the company provides several ways to find out what is wrong. On the Soothe.com website you’ll find both a phone number and an online chat service. If your call gets placed on hold, you can start a chat instead. The chat rep responded quickly to find out why the scheduled arrival was past due. He immediately went about identifying the therapist’s actual ETA. Eventually he explained she was looking for parking. Turned out she was late largely because she came from Joliet—a drive of more than an hour—and had run into construction delays. Arriving about 30 minutes after the appointment time, she set up her very comfortable table. She inquired regularly how the comfortable the room temperature and the level of pressure were, and in general expressed concern about her client’s comfort.
You’ll get an automated text shortly after your service asking how the massage was. You also get an email inquiring about that and asking if you would like to review the therapist’s performance on their website. A nice touch is that if you refer a friend and the friend books a massage, you both receive a $30 credit on your account. No secret codes required.
In general, their level of service and accessibility are very good. Once they book enough quality therapists in the area, Soothe.com should become a reliable win-win service.