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March Lunchtime Seminar - Gerontechnology for Successful Ageing
Wed 9 March 2016, 13:00 – 14:00 GMT
Gerontechnology for Successful Ageing: The case of AGE-WELL, a Canadian Network of Centres of Excellence
Judith Sixsmith, Professor of Public Health Improvement and Implementation; Ageing Research Centre Lead, Institute of Health and Wellbeing, University of Northampton.
The socioeconomic impact of an ageing society is significant and complex. In 2011, an estimated 5m Canadians were 65 years of age or older, a number that is expected to reach 10.4m by 2036. In 2009, older people accounted for an estimated 44% of all publicly funded health care costs, and those with three or more chronic conditions reported three times more health care resource use. Furthermore, the estimated, indirect costs from the lost productivity of caregivers are approximately $660,000 in individual lifetime income loss from earnings, social security, and pensions.
Innovative, multifaceted approaches are needed to alleviate the economic and social issues that population ageing places on society. In addition, the psycho-social acceptability and accessibility of technologies, how they fit into the everyday lives of older people also need to be taken into account if ageing successfully is to be achieved for individuals, groups and communities. Advanced technologies such as mobile computing, sensor technology, artificial intelligence (AI), and robotics, hold great promise for creating a more sustainable health care system: they can mitigate poor health outcomes associated with ageing, encourage increased independence and safety in the home, decrease health care utilization, support “ageing in place”, and alleviate caregiver burden. To date, that promise has not been fully realised. Over the past 15 years, there has been a dramatic increase in research in technology and ageing in Canada and Europe; however many innovative technologies resulting from this work have failed due to a “silo mentality” that fosters a lack of collaboration thereby hindering the advancement of technologies into viable solutions and commercial products. In addition, practical outcomes have been limited as devices are often poorly aligned with the needs of older people and other stakeholders Overcoming these limitations is critical if we are to exploit the benefits of technologies for ageing. This presentation explores the problems inherent in designing and producing technologies for successful ageing taking the case of the AGE-WELL network of centres of excellence as an example of current work in this area.