Looking at the future of ‘aging services’

In the US aging services is defined as the combination of public and private support older adults need as they age, encompassing healthcare, housing, transportation, nutrition etc. What will they be like in the future? Joseph Coughlin, director of MIT AgeLab, spoke on a panel at the American Society on Aging’s recent General Session on the Future of Aging on how aging services will change to meet the four points of ‘new’ summarized in his BigThink article: the new consumer (quite different than the present old), new technology (robot companions, proactive sensing of health changes, connective communications), new strategic partnerships (public-private, retailers, senior housing providers, financial services) and the new aging services professional (a blend of technologist, gerontologist, social worker, clinician, business person and holistic care provider.)  For those with institutional or library access, the Oxford Journals Public Policy & Aging Report has two additional articles by Mr. Coughlin expanding on these points.

The long-term care revolution: two papers

Written for the Technology Strategy Board and published by the Housing Learning & Improvement Network, the purpose of the main study is to “outline the case for a revolution in long term care all to be set in a time scale of 2012, 2020 and 2050. This includes evidence about the views of older people and their carers in the UK, lessons from abroad and the implications for industry/providers.” It is written as a ‘study of studies’ on a broadly-scoped problem; it focuses considerably on issues such as care provision, housing (including co-housing and communities) and putting the older person in more control of decisions, housing and tech design. Telehealth and telecare, while not the focus, have a hefty section (pages 32-41) but their conclusions will not be a huge surprise to our readers such as expanding inexpensive, simple assistive technologies, the need for more research and better design. The fact it is comparative is extremely helpful for those who want to see beyond borders, and there is a large section on ethical issues which is certainly unusual in studies of this type.  We thank the lead author, Professor Anthea Tinker, Institute of Gerontology, Department of Social Science, Health and Medicine, King’s College London, for providing information on and the PDFs of the studies. Assisted Living Platform – The Long Term Care Revolution and A study of innovatory models to support older people with disabilities in the Netherlands