Less than 30 years ago, ageing populations were perceived to be a burden to families and society – their contributions to community were heavily outweighed by the need to look after them.
In recent years, the emergence of new technology solutions, designed and built specifically to address ageing on different levels, be it dementia, Alzheimer’s or a physically restrictive condition, has changed the way societies adapt and manage ageing populations.
Gerontechnology, a new and growing field, works to improve quality of life among the elderly by developing technological solutions to issues they experience in their daily lives.
The Hong Kong government, recognising its growing ageing population, co-hosted the first Gerontech and Innovation Expo Summit (GIES) with the Hong Kong Council of Social Service (HKCSS)
Held from 16-18 June 2017, the objective of GIES is to promote community awareness and knowledge on the application of gerontechnology, and ways to use these solutions to help the elderly.
More than 100 local and international exhibitors showcased their inventions and products at the Expo. Highlights included robotic hand device for stroke patients; automated bathing equipment and Nao, a programmable humanoid companion robot that could perform simple exercises and read Chinese poems.
Concurrently, the Summit gathered stakeholders from different parts of the world and disciplines to exchange views and share experience in order to shed light on the strategy for further promoting development of gerontechnology in Hong Kong.
More than 20 sessions of workshops and briefings were held, with focuses on specific streams of products or services such as application of robots, elderly food, elderly product design, smart city development, smartphone applications for the elderly, walking aids and digital healthcare.
The event was designed for all sectors of the community and the general public, especially stakeholders in elderly care and the services sector, elderly persons and their family members and caregivers. It has received an overwhelming response from the public, with more than 43,000 people participating in the event.