Aging Purposefully: Key Insights From Aging in America 2018

Apr 6, 2018 2:00 PM ET
Blog

By: Rosy McGillan, EVP and Partner, Porter Novelli Global Purpose Practice Lead

Last week, I attended Aging in America 2018 (AIA), the American Society on Aging’s annual conference. It’s no secret we have a burgeoning aging population in America. The number of Americans ages 65 and older will more than double from 46 million today to more than 98 million by 2060. Once a year AIA brings together industry, government, and nonprofit leaders as well as consumer advocates to discuss what it means to grow old in our country, from social activism to health impact, retirement and home building design.

It’s a conference I look forward to every year. Growing up, each of my grandmothers came to live with us late in life. The concepts of assisted living facilities or 55+ active communities filled with golfing and sunset cocktails on the veranda weren’t in their future. Those experiences showed me what it was like to lose your independence, leave friends and community and all that was familiar behind, to suddenly realize you had to arrange for someone to take you somewhere – anywhere. Like so many professionals at AIA18 – I am driven by a need to improve the environment seniors interact with daily.

Innovating for Aging

At this year’s conference, there was a powerful entrepreneurial spirit from groups like Aging 2.0, an organization pairing up start-ups and the VC community to create devices that can combat such issues as isolation and protection against falls. AARP Foundation’s Hatchery was showcased, boosting innovators coming up with new technology every day to improve medication adherence and reduce costs. And Hasbro of all companies – a brand synonymous with toys for children is now turning out gamification solutions targeting seniors, bringing the brand much closer to its guiding Purpose: to make life better for children and families. Start-ups like Electronic Caregiver are transforming homecare through connectivity. The Administration for Community Living is dispelling the perception of federal agencies stuck in the past with novel partnerships with Georgia Tech around universal bathroom design. As one speaker put it, “Is technology changing aging or is aging changing technology?”