It’s one of the most remarkable statistics I’ve heard about social change for a while: life expectancy is growing by 5 hours a day. Put another way, average life expectancy increases by over a year every five years. Nesta have a new report out about the risks and opportunities of an ageing society which argues that the implications are far from simple. As Halima writes:
We must avoid jumping from one ageing stereotype to another: from an image of quiet, incapacitated people sitting in care homes, to a new stereotype of hyper-wealthy, hyper-healthy Baby Boomers reading tablet computers while pedalling in their home gym. The reality is much more complicated.
It’s fair to say that our institutions haven’t kept up with the trend. Pensions were designed for an era when people were only expected to live a few years beyond retirement. Old peoples’ homes were designed to be the exception rather than the norm.
Through Social Innovation Camp and Bethnal Green Ventures we’ve always been interested in how technology can help us adapt to an older society. It’s partly because people don’t associate digital technology with older people that we think it’s an interesting area. Projects like Good Gym, Room for Tea and Here’s a hand have taught us a lot about what works and what doesn’t. And when we open BGV applications tomorrow, we’re really keen to explore the way that tech can help reorganise systems of support for older people.