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ActiveAge

"There is a new look to old age. Old does not necessarily mean ill, disabled or poor. The focus of an ageing population, today and in the future, is on personal independence and optimal living." Professor Joseph Coughlin, MIT AgeLab

ActiveAge is a collaborative action research programme that is exploring the opportunities that lie within new markets being created by the ageing demographic and how ICT innovation can help to meet the changing social, physical and economic needs of an ageing society.

Projections show that by 2025 there will be more than 116 million people in the EU over the age of 60. This changes the way we have to think about the workplace; it questions the functionality of the home; it demands a radical review of how we design for mobility, and it asks increasingly searching questions about the way in which we deliver public services. Society as a whole - business, government, academia and community - must consider how this apparent 'problem' can be turned into an opportunity.

It was in response to such challenges that ActiveAge was conceived. Inspired by the work of Joseph Coughlin, founding Director of MIT's AgeLab, BusinessLab created the ActiveAge programme and formed the consortium of foundation partners to support the early collaboration with Professor Coughlin that led to the ActiveAge themes.

Recent research has focused on age-friendly cities and ways in which 'age friendliness' can be assessed. We have also been looking into the importance of 'inclusive' design, in ICT and other products, for older people. The ActiveAge view is that by designing for the old you automatically include the young. This is crucial for many organisations who, in order to reap the benefits of the ageing population, need to start focusing on an older consumer.

Working with our partners such as Microsoft Corporation and Newcastle City Council we have been looking at new possibilities for service delivery using innovative ICT solutions. In collaboration with our third sector partners we have been looking at metrics for age friendliness and how to capitalise on age friendly best practice from around the world.

If you want to understand how membership of ActiveAge can work for you, contact Gregor Rae at BusinessLab on +44 1224 64 38 23 or email him at grae@businesslab.co.uk

We look forward to hearing from you.