As leaders in the wearable technology and remote caregiving space, mCareWatch recently commissioned PureProfile to research the communication gaps that they see with customers around the country.

The research points to a generation of Australians who have three parents or parents-in-law (over 50%) aged over 70 years old (average age 76). Findings showed that those in the sample have genuine concerns around what the future holds for their parents – yet over 60% have never discussed the issue with their ageing family members.

In creating a true picture of the issue, over 62% of respondents indicated their parents/parents-in-law live regionally, interstate or overseas. And while 80% are still living independently, a staggering 72% of respondents have no plans in place to prolong the independent living of their loved ones.

While elderly parents having a fall was the highest-ranking concern for respondents, the findings also pointed to the communication problems experienced with mobile phones. As a mobile-savvy generation, the sample indicated that they have troubles reaching their older loved ones via mobile phone (over 69%) due to the users inability to operate it or forgetting to take it with them.

While there have been significant advancements in wearable technology for mobile caregiving, the sample indicated that while over 85% have no concerns about wearable technology, around 74% are not aware of products like the SOS Mobile Watch and GPS Smart Sole.

Key Research Insights

  • Fairly even split with the gender of respondents – 49% male, 51% female
  • Total Sample Size: 1,009
  • Nearly 80% of respondents were aged over 45 years old
  • Over 50% of respondents have at least three parents/parents-in-law
    • A lot of people to consider in addition to dependents, work, finances etc
  • Average age of parents/parents-in law was 76 years old
    • Safe to assume most would be well into retirement
  • 3% of parents/parents-in-law live either regionally, interstate or overseas
    • Distance is a real consideration for people with ageing parents
    • It is not easy to access parents when they do not live locally – more difficult to pop in/check up on them
  • 80% of respondent’s parents are still living independently
    • Wearable healthcare technology is a real opportunity given the huge majority of people are still living solo/without assistance
  • Parents having a fall or medical emergency ranked as the number 1 concern for respondents
    • Genuine concern for parents well-being
    • Highlights issue of parents living independently even as they progress well past retirement without any assistance/check points
    • Ranked higher than eating/drinking, taking their medication or going for a wander/getting lost
  • Despite parents having a mobile phone, 69.4% of respondents are unable to get in touch with their loved ones due to the user being unable to operate the device or forgetting to take it with them
    • Highlights the unreliability of having a mobile phone when the user is not comfortable or used to having it to hand
    • Flag the potential room for issues to arise when the parent is not at home or close to a phone – non contactable (especially when not living in close proximity to family)
  • 3% of respondents have no concerns about wearable technology
    • Tech savvy generations
    • Wearable technology is a part of everyday life
    • Push to encourage Australians to utilise technology better not just to communicate or track their day-to-day – but to use for the betterment of the older generation and remove the ‘worry’ factor that can be experienced on both sides (parent and child)
  • Wearable healthcare technology still needs to drive awareness, as 74.4% of respondents are not aware if wearable healthcare technology
    • Given their acceptance of wearable technology, this suggests they would be receptive to hearing about ways to utilise wearable technology to create greater independence for their older loved ones
  • 6% of respondents has not had a conversation with their parents/parents-in-law about their future living arrangements
    • The worry factor is not converting to action
    • Messaging around proactive VS reactive and how it can drastically change the conversation from having options to being limited in decision-making
  • In having the conversation about the future/living arrangements with their parents/parents-in-law, 55% of respondents ranked the conversation as ‘difficult, quite difficult or very difficult’
  • 9% of people have NEVER thought about having the conversation with their parents
  • The last question indicated that while there is some awareness around the issue, it is not converting to action with 72% of respondents flagging they have NO measures in place to prolong independent living for their parents