Merrily Orsini's Thought Leadership

From the White House to Your House: How Can Our Nation Meet Future Aging Needs?

Welcome to the dawning of a new era – one of unprecedented change in the White House, heartily welcomed by half of our nation, and angrily protested and mourned by the other. While we’re certainly divided in our opinions of what’s to come over the next four years, there is one future concern we can all agree on: how to accommodate and care for the explosion of aging Baby Boomers looming just over the horizon.

And by “over the horizon,” I’m talking fewer than 20 years from now. Coined “the 2030 problem,” when the youngest Boomers will officially have joined the ranks of senior status, our elderly population will skyrocket to a full 70 million Americans. The generation that’s been accustomed to providing care for their own loved ones is suddenly faced with the dilemma of finding needed care themselves – in a world where, as it stands now,  there simply won’t be enough caregivers to meet the demand.

So, America: as with any impending problem, the solution lies in advance planning. And with the innovative nature of Boomers, who are responsible for the invention of such world-changing benefits as DNA fingerprinting, artificial hearts, and the World Wide Web, it’s less a matter of a frail and helpless generation that needs to be coddled, but more realistically, the need for continued technological creativity to keep this generation thriving.

Just check out Aging2.0® which is a global innovation network on a mission to accelerate innovation to improve the lives of older adults around the world. Their product listing under startups has a great sampling of technology that is being developed to assist us meet the demands of an aging society that will have more demands than we can even imagine. I have listed just a few of the offerings below.

  • ActiveProtective: If it works for cars, why not humans? ActiveProtective is a smart belt, that actually detects falls and automatically deploys an airbag to protect the senior’s hips.
  • Carely is an app that facilitates communication when a family member is starting to need or getting assistance to live independently and helps coordination from becoming an issue.
  • evermind remotely monitors the usage of appliances and medical equipment to avert and head off any emergencies.
  • jibo is the world’s first family robot. A hands free helper, jibo is an entertainer, educator and a personal assistant. Coming to a home near you soon.
  • Lively is the next generation PER system that is a safety watch plus “fitbit” plus medication reminder and uses artificial intelligence to track patterns to alert designated people when something out of the ordinary in daily routine occurs.

As a Boomer myself, I’m feeling as torn as our nation: concerned by the ratio of aging adults to those available to provide care, and yet excited to see what new developments in technology await us that the previous generation could never have dreamed of. And, now it’s in OUR hands to truly shape the future of aging!