Keren Etkin, author of The AgeTech Revolution, talks aging in place and how it can benefit society at large.
As the world seeks to find answers to coping with our aging society, the market for innovative solutions to this challenge is growing rapidly – AgeTech is booming. But what are the barriers to AgeTech adoption and what benefits can it really deliver? Keren Etkin’s new book The AgeTech Revolution explores the changing face of aging in the 21st century, and how technology can help create a society that is more inclusive and supportive of older adults.
Longevity.Technology: As a public speaker and advisor for AgeTech start-ups, investors, and care providers, Etkin is well-qualified to comment on innovation around aging. She is the brains behind TheGerontechnologist.com, an online project that maps the global AgeTech ecosystem, and also founded AgeLabIL, an interdisciplinary R&D centre at Shenkar College in Tel Aviv. We caught up with Etkin to learn more about the book and what drove her to write it.
A gerontologist by training, Etkin started out in her career working in community services for older adults. The valuable experience also highlighted some of the limitations facing the care sector.
“We were doing some very impactful work, but it wasn’t scalable, so I became very interested in technologies that could potentially tackle some of the challenges that we were dealing with in the non-profit world in a scalable way,” she says. “I soon realised that we were actually surrounded by many wonderful start-ups developing amazing solutions for the different challenges of aging, which were part of this global ecosystem we now call AgeTech.”
The AgeTech Revolution
This initial interest compelled Etkin to bring some clarity to the AgeTech ecosystem and the wide range of approaches that comprise it. She began by creating TheGerontechnologist.com, and this work has now evolved into The AgeTech Revolution, a book that Etkin says was driven by two major trends.
The AgeTech Revolution by Keren Etkin
“On one hand, we have the aging of the population – this unprecedented demographic shift that our world is going through, which has multiple implications on society and economy. And, on the other hand, there is the digital transformation that our society is going through – we now live in a world that is very different from the world our grandparents lived in.”
Unfortunately, says Etkin, many of today’s consumer technology products aren’t designed to accommodate the needs and wants of older adults.
“It’s a shame we don’t see more founders and investors looking at this space, because older adults represent not only a huge percentage of the population, but they also hold significant spending power,” she adds. “The longevity economy is estimated to be worth around $15 trillion, and …….