Wearable Technology Opens Doors to Healthier and More Active Aging

Global Coalition on Aging and Global CEO Initiative on Alzheimer’s Disease Lead Discussion on Uses of Wearable Technology to Keep Aging Population More Active and Healthier

NEW YORK (May 22, 2014) – Wearable technology can be much more than a fun gadget or fashion statement, according to more than 50 business, academia, government, and non-profit leaders gathered at Google’s Glass Basecamp in New York City last evening. The event was hosted by the Global Coalition on Aging (GCOA), a business-led coalition focused on understanding and meeting the needs of the global aging population, which will reach 1 billion by 2020, and the Global CEO Initiative on Alzheimer’s Disease (CEOi), a public-private partnership focused on stopping Alzheimer’s by 2025 when roughly 70 million are projected to have the disease.

The group discussed the application of wearable technologies to enable the growing aging population to remain healthier and more active, even as health conditions such as Alzheimer’s, heart disease, vision loss, and diabetes increase with age. The event provided the opportunity for technology developers and entrepreneurs seeking the most innovative ways to use wearable technologies to learn about the challenges brought on by aging and devise solutions using technologies like Google Glass.

“The aging shift will have a major impact on people of all ages and nearly every aspect of society,” said Michael Hodin, executive director of the Global Coalition on Aging. “New innovations from medicine to financial tools to technology can help improve how we live as we age, which applies as much to today’s 22-year-olds as well as 82-year-olds.”

Longer lifespans coupled with a nearly universal decline in birth rates create a shift in which there are more old than young and therefore higher incidences of age-related health concerns and caregiving responsibilities. Roughly 10 percent of the global population is currently over 65, and will more than double to 22 percent by 2050. Over this same period, the number of people living with Alzheimer’s will more than triple and will affect millions more friends and family members who will act as caregivers.

“As the quest for a cure for Alzheimer’s disease continues, we must search for innovative ways to better care for the individuals and families who struggle on a daily basis with this vicious disease,” said George Vradenburg, convener of the Global CEO Initiative on Alzheimer’s Disease and Founder of USAgainstAlzheimer’s. “CEOi commends the Google Glass team for leading the discussion on the applications of this technology to improve the lives of so many.”

Sensors in shoes to prevent falls in the elderly to Google Glass as a tool to help Alzheimer’s patients identify friends and family were just two of the many ideas explored by the prominent group of thought leaders. The session included presentations and demonstrations by Google’s Glass Explorer community, and Explorers were challenged to find new ways to use the product to improve health and activity for the aging population.

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