As we think of the way technology will evolve to meet society’s growing needs, we can’t help but address the substantial issue of our aging populations. Through what we at Gallium Ventures call ‘GreyTech’, older people will be able to utilise tech to combat many of the difficulties they are likely to face. GreyTech is a technology designed to assist, support and generally improve the quality of life of those reaching their twilight years.
According to the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS), the population of people aged 70 and over in the UK is projected to increase significantly in the coming years.
As of mid-2021, there were approximately 9.7 million people aged 70 and over in the UK. By 2050, the ONS projects that this number will increase to around 13.8 million people.
It’s worth noting that these projections are subject to change based on a variety of factors, such as changes in migration patterns or fertility rates. Nonetheless, based on current projections, it’s clear that the UK’s population of older adults is set to increase substantially in the coming decades.
The aging population is likely to pose several challenges and create significant economic, social, and healthcare pressures across the globe.. We can already see and feel some of these impacts.
The increased demand for healthcare is one of these, because as people age, they are more likely to require healthcare services, including long-term care, rehabilitation, and treatment for chronic conditions. This increased demand will put pressure on the healthcare system, potentially leading to longer waiting times and higher costs, particularly if the number of healthcare workers doesn’t keep pace with demand.
This is also true of care workers. An aging population may require more support with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, and cooking. This could lead to increased demand for social care services, which are already stretched thin in many areas.
This shortage of workers to fill jobs, especially in sectors that require physical labor or specialized skills, is going to pose a big problem, putting pressure on pensions and government social care services to source and supply these services.
With the slowing of our population growth, there will be fewer people able to meet the demand of these roles and so to fill this gap, technological innovations will have to come to the fore.
We have called these technologies GreyTech because they will be specifically designed to help people within the aging population. Some of these technologies are already in existence, such as location devices for people living with dementia and Alzheimer’s as well as consumer-friendly companion robots to combat loneliness.
GreyTech is particularly important because today’s generations today will have been born and raised with technology at their fingertips and will be more accepting of AR, AI, home, and health tech as they hit their more senior years. In addition to this, the new normal of communicating digitally will be hugely beneficial here, with older generations able to stay connected to friends and family via video calls and social media.
Another facet to the situation is that people are also living longer, meaning their needs require longer-term solutions. For example, care homes will need to rely on technology more to monitor and assess the health and wellbeing of their community while those living in their own private homes will depend more on technology to maintain their home and keep them on track with health. This means technology will be hugely beneficial for medical staff as they monitor whether patients have taken their medication, as biohacking will allow monitoring medication in the bloodstream and walls of the stomach, while the patients themselves will be more open-minded to have technology integrated into themselves as a way to alleviate pain via pulses, monitor blood sugar and assess how the body reacts to what is consumed.
Developing technology that combats the issues we’ve outlined, as well as other problems faced by older people, is more important than ever. But as with any technology, effectively communicating the needs, features and benefits of these crucial technologies lives at the heart of what any innovator must do. At Gallium Ventures we specialise in working with technology businesses in all stages of development and of all sizes, even consulting for founders in the process of developing their technology. If you’d like to talk about your GreyTech business or idea, please do get in touch.