The Aging Innovation Matters Blog is published by the Maplewood Senior Living (MSL) Center for Aging Innovation & Technology.
Innovation can take many forms. Doing essentially the same thing, but doing it better is a form of incremental innovation. Doing something totally different and getting even better results is a form of radical innovation. Creating something completely new, unexpected, revolutionary or transformative, is disruptive innovation. When it comes to human aging, all forms of innovation are necessary. Why? Because the global demographic shift toward an increasingly older population is accelerating. In 1900, 13% of the population was age 50 or over. In 2002, it was over 27%. By 2020, it will be over 35%, and in the next 35 years, the size of the 50-plus population will be more than double what it is today.
If that wasn’t enough, there is what Joseph F. Coughlin, Founder and Director of MIT’s Age Lab, calls the “Longevity Economy”. This vast market of older consumers is worth approximately $8 trillion in the U.S. and growing by the day. These older adults are sophisticated, vocal, and deserving of all that innovation has to offer. This blog, and this inaugural post, is inspired by these older adults.
As VP of Clinical Innovation & Population Health for Maplewood Senior Living, I have the honor and pleasure of working with the amazing seniors who live in our communities, their families, and our staff. This blog is for them.
As an added bonus, I also get to work with people across planet who are disrupting the status quo and demanding a brighter future where ageism is abolished, getting “old” is cool, towns, cities and new technologies are built with aging baked into the design, and elders are respected and revered. These people come from every generation and a bring a diverse set of skills, experiences, and backgrounds; and they work hard everyday to make the world a better place for older adults through innovation in all its forms. This blog is for them too.
Who are these people? They are entrepreneurs recognizing both the challenges and the opportunities presented by an aging population. They are clinicians, caregivers and researchers driven to solve the mysteries of Alzheimer’s and related dementias. They are executives leading companies and organizations dedicated to providing exceptional care and services to seniors. They are educators passionate about teaching the complexities of geriatrics. They are students and young people fascinated by the chance to make a difference for their elders, and their future selves. They are policy makers and lawmakers motivated to create tangible positive change for their older constituents. They are investors ready and willing to take risks on emerging technologies that may profoundly affect an older person’s functioning and autonomy. And, they are older adults themselves, many of whom are actively involved in efforts to shatter aging stereotypes and who openly share ideas about what they want for their future. These ideas may one day lead to disruptive innovation in the space.
Maplewood is actively engaged in aging innovation through many channels. Through the MSL Center for Aging Innovation & Technology, we hatch new ideas, discover new and emerging products, test and evaluate aging-related technologies, strike new strategic partnerships, and search for opportunities to partner with or invest in startups. We are members of the Aging2.0 Alliance, a global community of aging innovators and thought leaders; and we work with Aging2.0 Local Chapters to host events geared toward building local aging innovation ecosystems.
This blog aims to be both a creator and a curator of valuable content for anyone interested in aging innovation, silver tech, and senior care transformation. In future posts, we will share ideas and insights gleaned from our innovation efforts. We will post relevant news and updates from around the world, information on local and national events, interviews with industry innovators and thought leaders, results from research and pilot studies, and much more. To stay up to date with all of our post, subscribe to the blog.
One more reason why aging innovation matters: as an “older” friend of mine wisely says, “Hey, if you’re breathing, you’re aging.”
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