There’s been a lot of news in recent years about the “demographic time-bomb” — an unprecedented rise in the age of the world’s population. According to the UN’s World Population Prospects: 2015 Revision report1, the number of people aged 65 years or over has increased substantially in recent years in most countries, and is set to rise further in the future.
According to demographics experts2, a number of countries are currently at very high risk from this phenomenon, and age-related spending is expected to rise as presented in the infographics below. A well-known example is Japan, where some say the aging population is already taking a noticeable toll on the country’s economy. Germany and Italy are also facing the same trend, with the likes of South Korea not far behind3.
It is clear that instead of scaremongering and hand-wringing, action must be taken now to adapt cities, houses and healthcare services to meet the needs of older people. With fewer young people around to provide care for increasing numbers of elderly citizens, we need technology to lend a hand.
A number of proactive companies, government groups and NGOs are now looking for ways to create a future where our homes and healthcare are friendlier to the needs of older citizens. Japan’s Society 5.0 roadmap for a super-smart society4, for instance, is a notable action plan.
City planners, IT experts, urban developers and government officials know that developing age-friendly technology is a journey into uncharted waters. Age-friendly tech is, for the most part, still nascent. But with the right network of help and support, smart tech solutions could soon help the world ease into an age-friendly, technology-rich future.