Work-based Learning Toolkit and Partnership Plans

Age Friendly Product and Service Innovation

The next generation of older people – the baby boomers – have great expectations to live longer, better. This includes services made for them, delivery strategies that fit their desired lifestyles in old age and care options that meet their wants as well as their needs. The disruptive demographics of an aging society is challenging both business and government – it will also demand new thinking in aging services.

Some of that innovation will come from technology.  A host of devices and sensors will be available to monitor, manage and motivate an older population to take their medication, eat well, exercise and all the things that will enhance well-being and lifelong engagement.   So, smart technology through the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Virtual and Augmented Realities will add a new layer of capability (and complexity) to the monitoring alert devices that are already available to call for help.  But we need to be very mindful that technology alone is not innovation. Innovation is about doing things differently and achieving better outcomes.

This requires more than technology it requires new thinking altogether – systems thinking – that addresses organizational design, workforce upskilling and collaboration.  Age Friendly Product and Service Innovation approaches could encompass:-

  • Tech savvy balanced with care savvy. Aging products and services will have many new dimensions requiring a workforce to be as tech-savvy as they are care-savvy; an organizational capacity to collaborate with all levels of public bodies as well as an emerging private sector interest in aging; and, the ability to respond to the unique if not seemingly insatiable demands of what will be the most demanding generation of our time
  • Develop New Services– new technologies, partnerships and services will relieve the already overburdened aging services and healthcare providers. Educators, aging services providers and the manufacturers of the technologies that will provide new platforms of care must educate, envision and invest in the next generation care professional– someone that is caregiver, tech-savvy, ready collaborator and agile in both non-profit and for-profit worlds
  • Create Partnerships– aging services providers could seek to develop new commercial and developmental partnerships with retailers, food and health companies, lifestyle and telecommunications businesses, the care sector. Many of these businesses are already looking at the aging population as a new opportunity

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