The Urgency Tied to an Aging Population

On 8 December 2016, Ron Riesenbach, Managing Director of the Canadian Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation (CC-ABHI), had the unique pleasure of presenting to a global audience through the Sharpbrains Virtual Conference. The unique nature of the fully on-line format allowed Ron to share CC-ABHI’s vision and program news, as well as learn from a number of other speakers from around the world about how brain health is being reinvented in the digital age.

“It was very exciting to hear about all the new ideas and innovations that are being developed in the brain health and aging space. New ideas about harnessing digital platforms to accelerate R&D, driving proper adoption of digital technologies, and developing new ways to empower communities with better brain health tools and literacy are all at the forefront of thinking in this space,” said Ron. “Particularly fascinating was the conversation regarding best practices to fund, develop and commercialize evidence-based innovation, which is in line with what we’re trying to do here at CC-ABHI.”

The urgency to develop innovative new technologies that will support brain health is closely linked to the fact that a growing proportion of the global population is living longer than at any other time in history. As this population ages, the need to maintain brain health and/or manage declining cognitive function will have far-reaching impact both socially and economically. The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs provided a number of sobering statistics about the aging of our global population in their World Population Aging 2013 Report

  • The global share of older people (aged 60 years or over) increased from 9.2 per cent in 1990 to 11.7 per cent in 2013 and will continue to grow as a proportion of the world population, reaching 21.1 per cent by 2050.

  • Globally, the number of older persons (aged 60 years or over) is expected to more than double, from 841 million people in 2013 to more than 2 billion in 2050.

  • The older population is itself aging. Globally, the share of older persons aged 80 years or over (the “oldest old”) within the older population was 14 per cent in 2013 and is projected to reach 19 per cent in 2050. If this projection is realized, there will be 392 million persons aged 80 years or over by 2050, more than three times the present.

Given the ongoing growth of older adults around the world it is essential to accelerate solutions in the aging and brain health sector. These solutions will allow the senior population to age more gracefully and in the setting of their choice, as opposed to long-term care facilities, hospitals, or nursing homes. 

CC-ABHI is happy to have once again supported the Sharpbrains Virtual Conference, a gathering of great minds that share new ideas and innovations in the brain health space.

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