Australia’s ageing population means that over 1 million aged care staff will be needed by 2050. This presents numerous opportunities for technological and service-based change in the sector. innovAGEING is Australia’s first innovation network for aged care services and aims to encourage progressive thinkers and practitioners in the industry.
The innovAGEING program aims to improve the lives of the elderly, helping them to maintain their independence and allowing them to have more say in their way of living. It promotes the industry as consumer-centric and uses technology to complement human care and increase safety and wellbeing. Ken Wyatt, the Minister for Aged Care, said that “innovative approaches are fundamental to providing safe, quality, sustainable care in the long term.”
Established by Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) and digital technology company Alive, innovAGEING aims to respond to challenges and opportunities with fresh ideas like raising chickens, robotic pets and a rostering app for aged care staff. The IRT Group Driverless Car will be trialled at the Kangara Waters community and aged care centre in Canberra over the next six months, where the official innovAGEING launch was held. The car, known as the Pod Zero, was promised $400,000 in federal funding in January this year. Alive Director Luke Harvey-Palmer says the partnership will provide the perfect platform to achieve “real outcomes.”
LASA says that a collaborative, national approach to aged care services is needed immediately. All aged care organisations, service providers, universities, public sector agencies and researchers are encouraged to join innovAGEING.