AGE-WELL Canada’s technology and aging network is fast approaching the end of its first five-year mandate in 2020.
I say first five years because, based on its outstanding record of sponsoring innovative technology-based research projects to help older adults and caregivers, and its outreach to Canadian entrepreneurs in technology design with such programs as the 2018 National Impact Challenge, AGE-WELL has earned the reputation to continue leading in this field beyond 2020.
Since 2015 when it first took off, I have been following AGE-WELL, one example from the health and life sciences sector in Canadas’ federally funded Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) program. Over the last five years, AGE-WELL has built an expansive network of partnerships in government, academic, not for profit and corporate spheres and has developed cross-disciplinary expertise, (or as they call it Crosscutting Activity Teams).
There is no question that the intersection of technology design and healthy aging is an important one. Yet for all its progress, it is still an emerging opportunity for business and individual careers in a Longevity Economy – and the opportunity is even greater in that the general population is largely unaware that advances in this field are actually happening. How and when will technology driven products and services be commonplace to end-users in a wider consumer market?
Mobility and wearable devices, AI, robotics, sensors, mobile apps, virtual reality – all these things are in play within the world of technology design and healthy aging in some way shape or form. While it could be said “the future is already here”, we will likely have to see over the next five years more of these innovations reach a higher rate of adoption within the older adult population.
In the short run, AGE-WELL continues to educate with its 2019 Webinar Series starting with the first next Tuesday, February 19th titled Involving End-Users in All Stages of Research. This is key component of importance similar to the intergenerational design message from this year’s Stanford Longevity Design Challenge theme.
If you are just a beginner, not fully aware of the work going on in this area, the Feb.19th webinar will help you:
- Explore different ways in which AGE-WELL engages older adults and caregivers throughout the research process
- Learn about the benefits of including older adults and caregivers at all stages of research
- Hear examples of older adults and caregivers co-creating solutions alongside researchers and industry partners
The second AGE-WELL webinar featuring Dr. Alex Mihailidis, Scientific Director at AGE-WELL is on April 24th, 2019. His topic will be How AGE-WELL Technology is Changing Homes of the Future & Promoting Independence for All.
Paraphrasing Mihailidis when I heard him speak at Sheridan College Centre for Elder Research in 2016 – in a world where technology development moves at warp speed, we can’t be incremental in developing technologies for aging if we are to transform the market.