Start-ups eye 'aging tsunami' | The Standard – Hong Kong Standard

Start-ups can promote their latest IT products for the sizable elderly market as Hong Kong prepares for an “aging tsunami” in the coming decades, Secretary for Labour and Welfare Law Chi-kwong said.

Law said the city has 224,000 elderly aged 85 and above, with the number likely to rise to 836,000 in 40 years.

He said an elderly IT platform – Gerontechnology – has seen many start-ups, including a company developing artificial bones.

Law said the city should prepare for challenges to the public health system and elderly care service, including providing technology support to service providers and enhancing our elders’ quality of life in the community.

“The government has to work with non-governmental organizations, research institutions and the whole innovative industry chain, with the power of the market, in facing the challenges of the coming ageing tsunami efficiently,” Law said. He added that authorities have been cooperating with the Hong Kong Council of Social Service and the Hong Kong Science Park in organizing the annual Gerontech and Innovation Expo cum

Summit.

The expo, which ended on Saturday, gathered some 31,000 visitors and over 160 exhibitors showcasing more than 600 elderly IT products.

Products included companion dolls and robots as well as mobility-aid appliances. They aim to assist elderly service operators in taking care of the elderly.

Some tools came with anti-wander functions, fall detection and aids in bathing, toileting and feeding, which can ease the workload of care home staffers.

An exhibitor, Gerontechnology Platform, is a one-stop elderly IT platform founded by the HKCSS and nine more organizations, and funded by the Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Fund.

It pairs health-care service operators with product developers.

Law quoted a founder of a local start-up, which develops artificial exoskeleton.

The founder told Law that the platform has allowed them to get in touch with the users, which has helped them in testing and improving their products.

Law said the government has also approved over HK$380 million under the Innovation and Technology Fund for Application in Elderly and Rehabilitation Care since December 2018.

The fund has been subsidizing some 1,300 elderly and rehabilitation care units in purchasing or borrowing technology products and lessening the workload of health-care workers, he said.

He hoped more innovators could look into the development in elderly IT, and along with synergy between Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area, work toward building a sizeable silver market.

source: Start-ups eye 'aging tsunami' | The Standard – Hong Kong Standard

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