The future is old
In many ways this is an achievement of our societies (who does not want to become old) but it poses us for new questions. When we get old, who will do the work needed?
You can calculate that in 2025 the workload per employee that takes care for elderly people will be twice as high. I think that is one of the challenges we have for the next decades.
ICT will be one of the means to deliver an answer to this challange. ICT to increase productivity (like care from a distance) but also ICT that gives more control to people so they can take care of themselves (e.g. with social media).
Last week we started a program focused around these two types of potential for ICT in the elderly care. In this program we bring together people from healthcare organizations, universities and companies (www.health-lab.nl). During this kickoff we had around 50 people of management level together.
One of the interesting discussions we had was about the role of commercial companies. My statement is that we need commercial companies to grow from all kinds of well meant pilots to mature markets. Only in a mature market there will be technology available for everyone and not just in a subsidized pilot. In this discussion it was clear that in the world of care there is some tension between commerce and care. I hope with the Health-lab program we can lower the barriers between these worlds.