If there is one shining example of an organization leading the way in Canada on the topic of technology and aging, it is AGE-WELL and as in previous years, two weeks from today, it holds its 5th Annual Conference in conjunction with 48th Canadian Association on Gerontology (CAG) conference, in Moncton, New Brunswick.
Titled Exploring the Future of Technology and Aging, this AGE-WELL event, open to the public at very reasonable rates, frames this in a somewhat high-level way as evidenced by their Keynote Speaker Dr. Robert Thirsk who is a former Canadian Space Agency astronaut.
Guess you can’t get more far out with this, in his speech headline title – Healthcare in Deep Space: Advancing our nation’s leadership in autonomous care. As the write-up says, he will “bring his thoughts down to Earth and consider whether the novel approaches to deep space healthcare could be adapted to serve the chronic care community as well as patients living in remote regions of our nation.”
One of the other far out highlights in the conference program is a panel discussion A Look Into the Future: What will technology look like in 2050? As much as I am infinitely curious to hear about that, I would prefer to shrink the timeframe by twenty years. How will technology innovations of the present, and in our near future, be practically applied helping people in the decade ahead?
As much as I vigorously follow what’s up and coming, most people I know who could benefit from the intersection of technology and health/home care now, have little or no clue to what is meant by the phrase technology and aging. Some of the everyday low-tech devices, wearable tech products or med-related apps as commonly advertised today are the extent to which a vast majority of people understand. What is out there, that has not hit the market full on yet?
This is where AGE-WELL and other entities such as Stanford Longevity and Aging 2.0 come in to play, fostering practical innovations, not so deep space. For example, in the 2019 AGE-WELL National Impact Startup Challenge one niche Canadian technology solution in the top three winners was by a company called True Angle Medical Technologies with their Mobili-T – a swallowing therapy system for older adults with swallowing difficulties. Demonstrating “leadership in autonomous care”, is this not also a fine example of perhaps an age agnostic designed product?
So bring on the future, and if you can’t make the conference in Moncton, maybe you can take advantage of the next AGE-WELL webinar on Nov. 7th titled Supporting People who Juggle Work and Caregiving: Challenges and Solutions. Sounds like an immediate down to earth reality to many of us.