Opportunity knocks: designing solutions for an ageing society

Document type
Sinclair, David; Creighton, Helen
International Longevity Centre - UK
Date of publication
14 July 2015
Older Adults
Social welfare
Material type

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This short report seeks to explore how design and technology could better respond to the challenges of population ageing.Technology is often billed as a magical solution to any intractable problem and there have been countless reports on the potential benefits of technology in our ageing society. However more needs to be done to help tech live up to our expectations. The problem is not the lack of innovation or technological progress, but of how we apply these new technologies. This report aims to open up a new debate about not only the opportunities, but also on what the barriers to progress are likely be over the coming decade. The first half of this report begins by assessing the scale of the challenge - looking at the implications of an ageing society and measuring the technological progress already made. It then highlights some of the reasons why technology and design hasn’t got to grips with ageing and outline what needs to happen in order for them to live up to their full potential.

The second half investigates five of the key challenges surrounding an ageing population: healthcare, the home environment, leisure time, transport and the management of personal finances. It details ways in which existing technologies might be better applied, and new technologies might be developed, to support the needs of older people.