ANDOVER, Mass., U.S.A. - In a recent U.S. study, Royal Philips Electronics (NYSE:PHG, AEX:PHI) found that a majority of individuals surveyed ages 65 or older are comfortable using technology (54 percent). However, Philips found there is a gap between perception and reality, with younger people thinking only 42 percent of seniors use tech in their daily lives.
Understanding and educating seniors on the benefits of technology for overall health and well-being is just one of the actionable recommendations outlined in a new report from the Philips Center for Health and Well-Being Think Tank on Aging well: “The New Promise of Longevity: A Report on the ‘Aging well’ Framework.” The new report explores the challenges and possibilities for successful aging, and the crucial steps governments, community organizations, and the private sector need to take to support Aging Well, at the World Demographic and Aging (WDA) Forum held this week in St. Gallen, Switzerland.
With the improvements in life expectancy and decreasing birth rates, the population of people over the age of 65 is growing faster than the total population. For example, of the 7 billion total population today, 900 million are over age 60; by 2050, that population segment will explode to 2.4 billion. This rapid growth is outpacing the rate at which individuals, families, communities and global society are adapting.
The “Aging Well” model proposed by the Philips Think Tank is essential to supporting people as they transition through life’s stages. It calls for NGOs, governments, private sector entities, and the general public to develop policies, programs and technologies to facilitate Aging Well, including:
- Encourage, through economic and policy incentives, an aging population that stays active and productive in the work force, engaged in their communities and maintains their independence
- Shift the focus of healthcare from treating illness to promoting wellness, addressing health inequity, increasing physical activity and healthy diets, and empowering citizens to make their own health choices in partnership with health care providers
- Leverage advances in medical technology (wireless, mhealth, health IT) to help facilitate independent living, enhanced quality of life, and more informed decision making
- Focus public policy on reducing isolation, enabling workforce and community engagement, creating age-friendly environments and promoting technologies that facilitate greater independence and patient-centered care
- Ensure urban design takes the aging community into account to make cities more live-able and age-friendly
- Dedicate efforts to educate the aging population on social media and other methods of community engagement and knowledge transfer
- Engage older workers in the workforce and tap into their experience to enhance community life
“At Philips, we strive to make the world healthier and more sustainable through innovation, and we are committed to improve the lives of 3 billion people a year by 2025,” said Koen Joosse, Director, Philips Center for Health and Well-being. “In recognition of the importance of the aging population in achieving this goal, the Philips Center for Health and Well-being has gathered leading experts for dialogue and debate culminating in the release of this useful and information-packed report. We hope this will inspire our governments, communities, our industry and businesses to create partnerships and solutions to help seniors maintain their independence while staying actively connected to our society’s fabric.”
The full report, “The New Promise of Longevity: A Report on the ‘Aging Well’ Framework,” from the Philips Center for Health and Well-Being Think Tank on Active Aging, can be found at http://www.philips-thecenter.org/Aging-Well/insight/2012/Re-imagining-Aging--Challenging-Established-Mindsets.