Caregiving Innovation Presents $279 Billion Opportunity

As more Americans turn 65 every day—with many planning to age in place—the caregiving market is anticipated to boom over the next four years. The opportunities for disruptive innovations to aid caregiving are “ripe” for the picking, according to a recent study from AARP and Parks Associates.

The Caregiving Innovation Frontiers (CIF) study found that an estimated 117 million Americans will need assistance of some kind by 2020, but the number of unpaid caregivers is only expected to reach 45 million in the same year.

This huge demand represents a $279 billion revenue opportunity over the next four years across six different business areas identified in the study, with 80% of spending being out-of-pocket costs. Technology solutions and remote health monitoring systems that enable family caregivers could provide key relief, according to the report.

“The physical, mental and financial burden on family caregivers are real and their sacrifice for loved ones [was] aggravated by lack of well-designed decision support tools and shortage of effective task management solutions in the past,” Harry Wang, director of mobility and digital health at Parks Associates, said in a statement. “Fortunately, the tech industry has been mobilized and this report shines the light into caregiver needs areas where critical innovations and breakthrough business models are immediately needed.”

The CIF report outlined six areas for business opportunities, with huge potential for revenue grabs. Technology represents an opportunity across all the service areas, according to AARP. The majority of family caregivers—67% of them—want to use technology to monitor their loved one’s health and safety, but only about 10% are doing so.

“This market is ripe for disruption,” Jody Holtzman, senior vice president of enterprise strategy and innovation with AARP, said in a press release. “It is in full alignment with AARP’s social mission to enhance the quality of life for people 50-plus, as it pertains to caregivers as well as those receiving care. Caregiving tech is a huge growth opportunity that can help us bridge this ‘needs gap’ and deliver better, more relevant products to improve people’s lives.”

The biggest category was within day-to-day living activities, such as meals, home and personal care, home repair, delivery and transportation. The report estimated the opportunities in this area could exceed $200 billion.

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Other areas include health and safety awareness; care coordination; transition support; social well-being; and caregiver quality of life. The report also noted that caregivers can have a great influence on the purchase of all the offerings across the service areas identified and are often responsible for the direct purchase of some products, such as medication management apps. By tapping into the needs of caregivers, businesses entering the space face a growing demand with exciting opportunities, the report emphasized.

Written by Amy Baxter