AAA™ – In the news June 2017 – Let’s Get to Work

Today we awoke to political uncertainty over who will shape ageing's big issues over the next five years. So as we await the outcome of yesterday's election, let's take a moment to look at some of the other key players influencing this hugely important area.

Let's begin with the most popular story we shared this month – one that's very close to home.

It's Good To Talk

This recent article from Next Avenue – 'public media's first and only national journalism service for America's booming older population' – gave us five great examples of how AI could support longer independent living.

According to Richard Adler, research fellow at the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto, California;

"The truth is that a lot of older adults are technophobes. They tend to be classically late adopters of almost any technology. Even though they are the ones with the most to gain from embracing the latest technology".

To combat this, the big players are already looking at the next generation of voice controlled devices (Siri, Alexa etc.). ElliQ, we are told, can learn about us, interact with us, and even use different actions to guide us toward beneficial activities like exercise. Then we have sensors that can learn our patterns of behaviour and alert others to any unusual changes such as lack of movement due to a fall. And then we have algorithms being developed to detect diseases like breast cancer, and predict heart attacks.

There was even mention of Siri co-founder Tom Gruber's plan to give us memories as good as a computer's. "What if you could remember every person you ever met?" he's asked. "How to pronounce their name? Their family details? Their favorite sports? The last conversation you had with them?"

It's inspiring stuff, but if the world of AI seems far off, or worse an intrusion into the privacy of your home, then take a moment to think about the many recent warnings about social care. With decreasing money and staff to look after older, isolated or vulnerable people right now, then might we have no choice but to tap into the potential of AI? One commentator certainly thinks we need to do something, and soon.

Time to Care

This recent article in New Scientist revealed that; "A study in The Lancet this week predicts that the number of over 65s requiring some form of care due to age-related disability could reach 2.8 million by 2025 in England and Wales – 25 per cent more than in 2015." And it continued; "The authors warn that if the 'shortage of caregivers and the precarious state' of care are not addressed urgently, many more people on low incomes will be unable to live independently".

The answer says the author is more money and better working conditions for those delivering social care, and to turn social care into a 'properly funded part of our health system'. The urgency for which being even greater now owing to Brexit's growing impact on the workforce.

This is of particular interest to us as we are seeing more and more articles around longer working lives and the assumed impact of AI on the job market. Could it be that the Government encourages people (of any age) to look at social care as a viable way to address both issues? Could future generations balance their jobs as VR coders (see last month's AAA news), with caring for older people in their communities. Perhaps even using Professor Heinz Wolff's 'Give and Take Care' as the template?

Whatever the solution, many are already talking about the need to find a way to better reflect and benefit from an ageing population in the jobs market.

9 to 95?

According to this article, many older workers are finding it hard to either stay in work as they age or return to it after an absence. It stated that; "According to a recent study by Anglia Ruskin University, older applicants are over four times less likely to be offered an interview despite having more experience on their CV, with almost half of all unemployed people aged 50 to 64 out of a job for over a year.

This is an issue for the UK, according to the article, as although more companies are looking to hire we are experiencing a 16-month low of available candidates, exacerbated by the decreasing willingness of EU nationals to apply for roles due to Brexit. And even worse; "there will be an extra 14.5m jobs created in the UK over the next five years – but only seven million young people entering the workforce".

The opportunity, according to Aviva's UK boss Andy Briggs is that; "If Britain hires an extra one million staff aged between 50 and 69 in the next five years, GDP could be boosted by an extra £88bn".

We have talked before about organisations like BMW addressing their ageing workforce through legislation, and actually increasing productivity as a result. So, we say that whoever is in charge for the next 5 years – lead the way with more initiatives like the Fuller Working Lives strategy and help every industry recognise that our society is ageing but there are benefits in droves!

And just in case you missed it…

Once you've digested all this, why not take a look at some of the other popular stories from this month. Firstly check out Dr Bill Thomas and his Age of Disruption Tour, currently touring the US with its unique brand of 'non-fiction theatre' – billed as a 'TED Talk on steroids'. Then, if you are still working in later life why not take a moment to help The Guardian with their new report on the issue – closing date June 20th. And finally, why not swot up on the latest stats from Pew Research Centre on the rate of tech adoption in older adults. Impress your friends!

That's it, until next month stay agile!

Agile Ageing Alliance: Connecting digital and social innovators in an ageing society

info@agileageing.org / @AgileAgeing

Image used with permission: Copyright