Now Reading: From Caregiving to Caring: A New Approach to Civic Engagement

From our friends at the Institute for the Future, a kind of storybook report of an “emergent-reality” game they ran with United Cerebral Palsy on the subject of caregiving and caring in the future. If you’ve been following my delicious feed, you’ll see that I’ve been doing some reading about the concept of “aging in place” (or “aging independently” as tagged).

Why? What does caregiving and aging in place have to do with health informatics and patient empowerment (and Washington, DC, and diversity, my other two favorite things, for that matter).

Of course it has a lot to do with all of those things. The senior population is set to double by 2030, the overwhelming majority of them are going to live in conventional housing, they will have less kids, greater education, and potentially greater wealth than their predecessors (but with increasing disparities in this area). As it says in the introduction:

the challenges of caregiving become inextricable from the challenges facing health care systems, civic engagement, and declining cities.

I have been asking myself if the phenomenon of aging-in-place is an invention of various industries; I don’t think it is, right now (but please challenge me on that point). Various interactions in the last 6 months, from meeting Marty Cooper and Arlene Harris in the summer, to interacting with the Innovation Learning Network keeps bringing these themes up.

The report itself summarizes several technologically-powered (or empowered) approaches to supporting caregiving in the 21st Century, including basics on remote sensing, non-cash incentives (time-banks, for example), and transparent reporting and reputation systems.

I also like the way this data was put together, it seems very California Healthcare Foundation -esque with the signature of IFTF, both great things when it comes thinking of the future. See what you think.


Hi, Ted. I have looked at the report you mention and learned from it about the useful blog, Aging In Place Technology Watch

But I was rather frustrated that it says in one place, “follow me on Twitter”

But then you find that the tweets are protected:

and you have to register to make full use of the blog like gaining access to what looks like a useful report, “Technology Market Overview Report”:

I had not heard of Laurie Orlov before and the pithy and authoritative postings on her blog makes her clear that she is a really smart cookie. It is just a shame that it is such a hassle to access more of her material. Not what one expects to see in a marketing firm, of all things.

As I read the report, I reflected that many of us have friends with disabling illnesses. But how can you help someone if you are small (no lifting or transferring, therefore), can’t cook or lack the know-how to help with assistive technology problems? Well, you can weed in their yards. Just keeping yards in shape and pretty and making surroundings pleasant is a major contribution. Or you can simply rub their feet and hands or just sit with that person while the family caregiver is out (thereby saving them from having to pay for a professional caregiver for at least that interval). The trouble is, there is so much bureaucracy at the local level with the plethora of agencies and screening procedures. I read in the report you cite, “From Caregiving to Caring: A New Approach to Civic Engagement” about the site, All for Good:

and was very impressed that I was able to find many simple opportunities to be of service here in my small home of Corvallis, Oregon. Talk about efficient. There was a listing for volunteer work for a group home

and one that I found especially touching, “One on One Friend/Companion/Walking help.” All for Good is a wonderful way of combining the power of the Web (so easy to find ways to help) with the appeal of low tech (going on a walk with a disabled person or pulling weeds in his or her yard).

Good for the Institute for the Future for publishing such a valuable report and thank you for citing it.



Your comment finally made it to light – sorry for the over-agressive spam filter. I don't know why the tweets of agingintech are protected, I just guess that sometimes organizations are just getting up to speed and it takes them awhile to synchronize the "opening of their doors" so to speak. Let's see what they say (I assume you've contacted them) about this.

More importantly, it is awesome that you found an opportunity to provide care for someone in your community, thanks to Web 2.0. Your comment was well worth the wait!


Hope, you are just an incredible, breakthrough example of empowerment and compassion. I learn every time I read something from you.

For future reference, spam filters are often triggered by having more than 1 or 2 links in a comment, because that's what spammers often do. So you might email or DM the blogger to advise them to check the back end.

Hi, Dave. Thank you for your very kind words. What a compliment given that you embody empowerment and via your work the healthcare system is going to be rendered simultaneously more efficient and better able to deliver treatment in a humane, sensitive manner in that patients will be endowed with the information they need and deserve. Both you and Ted are models of reasoned, eloquent advocacy for good patient care.

And thank you for your helpful, tactful coaching on how to avoid being taken for a spammer.



I'm using this in a presentation I'm giving this week. Can you easily steer me to sources for these things you said, or should I just go do my homework đŸ™‚ ?

• The senior population is set to double by 2030,

• the overwhelming majority of them are going to live in conventional housing

• they will have less kids, greater education, and potentially greater wealth than their predecessors (but with increasing disparities in this area).

Ted Eytan, MD