Aging Services – ‘Smart’ elderly housing will be a growing need. Public housing that provides a common smart technology infrastructure may facilitate the delivery of services that can be scaled across a province or the nation.
For example, selected senior housing facilities in Singapore share a common information communications technology infrastructure, e.g., Internet access in each unit.
Rethinking housing as a platform for technology-enabled services may optimize the integration of ‘intelligent’ devices and services already on the market (e.g., monitoring and health management applications offered by Philips, GE, and other firms in the global Continua Health Alliance) supporting safety, disease management, and social services.
Despite advances in technology, caregiving remains a high-touch business. The careforce shortage in China is critical.
Development of professional programs and certification of formal caregivers would benefit from collaboration with long-term care companies and aging services organizations with expertise in training and the use of new technologies (e.g., HelpAge International, Home Instead, Golden Living).
In addition to the training, expertise and services, investment in large-scale (provincial as well as national systems) health and homecare information management systems may help families understand the range of available services and government to ensure the highest quality of care.
Aging in China is not just about the elderly. It is about the wellbeing of all people in China as well as its performance in the world economy.
Changing demographics, lifestyles, and an institutional readiness for innovation are converging Event Venues to create an extraordinary opportunity for business, aging services and ultimately China’s people to build an “elder care services industry”.
If successful, it might just become another leading export.
MIT AgeLab Research Assistant Victoria Lee conducted field research in China and translation of references in preparation of this article.
– Coughlin, J. & Pope, J. “Innovations in Health, Wellness & Aging-in-Place: Development of a Consumer-Centered Approach to Intelligent Home Services”, IEEE Engineering in Medicine & Biology, July-August 2008.
– “An Investigation of Development Issues of Urban Senior Apartments in China,” China East Normal University, 2007
– Coughlin, J., Pope, J., Leedle, B. “Old Age, New Technology and Future Innovations in Disease Management and Home Health Care,” in Home Health Care Management and Practice, 18(3), pp. 196-207, 2006.