Innovative solutions to Improve Geriatric Care
The Global Burden of Disease 2016 study that has comprehensively assessed epidemiology of different diseases and specific causes for the mortality, has indicated profound shift of deaths towards older ages. There were 901 million people aged above 60 years of age that accounts for 12 per cent of the total global population. Since, the elderly population is growing at the rate of 3.26 per year, it is projected that it is going to be 1.4 billion by 2030 and by 2.1 billion by 2050.This demographic transition clearly signifies that globally aged population (including those with extreme old age) will soon outnumber young and children.
In India the overall population has increased by 17.7 per cent between 2001 to 2011, whereas the increase in population over the age of 60 is 35.5 per cent between the same period. In low-and middle income countries the increase in life expectancy is basically the result of decrease in maternal and child mortality and those resulting from infectious diseases. The elderly population in India is heterogeneous, depicting variable morbidity rates across gender, location and socioeconomic status. At least 65% of India’s old live in rural areas and are illiterate and economically dependent. The added extra years of life have profound implications not only on individuals but also on societies and demands comprehensive public health response. Besides posing social and financial challenges, elderly population will impose immense strain on the health system. Ageing is inextricably linked with public health agenda, particularly in relation to universal health agendas, and more specifically with sustainable development goals (SDGs).
Since, health system is poorly aligned with the needs of the health system, it is important to explore ways to ensure physical and social infrastructure to foster better health and well-being of geriatric population. Due to steady increase in number of senior citizens it is important to strive ways to find innovative solutions to deal with complex care demands of this population. This is particularly important for low income countries that will age much faster before they become industrialized and developed.
What we are looking for
- New tools and technology to support independent living and assisted living enhancement of aged population.
- Remote monitoring tools/devices for elderly that can track patient movement and perceive whether patient is in safe conditions.
- Tests, interventions, and virtual-reality based assessment or training tools, to improve cognitive status in older populations.
- Interface to address elderly motor and sensory needs. This also includes mobility tools for individual with physical and mental dysfunction.
- Novel health systems tools and technology that will adapt to a variety of health care delivery models such as medication optimization, and maintaining personal health record (PHR).
- Innovative approaches to manage comorbidities (such as heart diseases, pulmonary diseases, arthritis, diabetes etc.) and syndromes associated with older age.
- Novel ways to manage progressive syndromes that leads to deterioration of cognitive (eg. Dementia and Alzheimer’s) and behavioural functions causing disability and dependency.