Innovation and Technology in Dementia Care: A Bridge to Better Health

This podcast episode is the first in a series of conversations from the 2021 Rotman Research Institute Conference and CABHI Summit.


The current COVID-19 healthcare crisis has accelerated the development and adoption of aging and brain health innovations around the world. From robots to AI-powered fall detection systems, the longevity market is seeing a boom in agetech products that aim to improve the quality of life for older adults living at home or in long-term care facilities.

Where we once crawled, we’ve learned to sprint. Many countries, including Canada, are incorporating technology into dementia care faster than ever before.

But is technology the answer to all of our aging challenges? How can we use technology in an ethical and equitable way?

On this episode of the Community of Innovation Podcast, Dr. Allison Sekuler and panelists Yasuko Akutsu (President & CEO of MT Healthcare Design Research Inc, Japan), George MacGinnis (Healthy Aging Challenge Director, UK Research and Innovation), Bridgette Murphy (Managing Director and COO of AGE-WELL), and Jason Resendez (Executive Director of the USAgainstAlzheimer’sCenter for Brain Health Equity) tackle these questions in a public lecture that first aired at the 2021 Rotman Research Institute Conference.

This global panel of experts had a lot to say about technology in dementia care. To kick off the conversation, Akutsu shares aging trends from Japan’s super-aged society and the technology helping to support older adults and people living with dementia.

The panelists also covered topics such as:

  • The importance of research that captures the experiences of underrepresented populations
  • The role of digital literacy in creating equitable access to technology
  • Debunking the myth that older adults are not interested in using technology
  • Building a healthcare ecosystem that is ready to adopt new healthcare technology

Tune in to the first episode of our special podcast series, featuring some of the most insightful conversations from the 2021 Rotman Research Institute Conference and CABHI Summit.



Learn more about the panelists

Yasuko Akutsu graduated from the University of Tukuba graduate school with a Master of Environmental Science. She joined GK Industrial Design Institute, where she worked on the marketing research of product and urban development master plan. Akutsu started MT Healthcare Design Research Inc. in 2012, which specializes in developing human-centred design for Japan’s healthcare sector.

 George MacGinnis leads the £98 million research and innovation program supporting the UK Government’s Ageing Society Grand Challenge.  The Challenge aims to ensure that people can enjoy at least five extra healthy, independent years of life by 2035, while narrowing the gap between the experiences of the wealthy and those with fewer financial resources. MacGinnis has a varied background in healthcare innovation, including recent work on the future capacity needs for a reformed health and social care system in the Republic of Ireland; a review of the impact on the NHS of Small Business Research Initiative in Healthcare; a landscape review of the MedTech sector for the Academic Health Science Networks; and leading the user group for a global industry alliance to enable a consumer-friendly market for digital wellness and health products and services through standards and accreditation.

Bridgette Murphy is the managing director and COO of AGE-WELL, a pan-Canadian research network that brings together researchers, older adults, caregivers, partner organizations, and future leaders to accelerate the delivery of technology-based solutions that make a meaningful difference in the lives of Canadians. Murphy has more than 15 years of program management and research operations experience. Prior to AGE-WELL, she was the knowledge translation manager at the Kite Research Institute at Toronto Rehab – University Health Network (UHN). She received her undergraduate degree in behavioural neuroscience at McGill University followed by a master’s degree specializing in social policy and health equity from the University of Toronto. She completed executive development training through the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management.

Jason Resendez is the Executive Director of the UsAgainstAlzheimer’s Center for Brain Health Equity and head of the LatinosAgainstAlzheimer’s Coalition. From clinical trial inclusion to paid family leave for family caregivers, he champions brain health equity at every level of the healthcare system. In 2020, Resendez was recognized as one of America’s top 20 “Influencers in Aging” by PBS Next Avenue. He has contributed to peer-reviewed research on the socioeconomic impacts of brain health inequities and on the science of community engagement in brain research. He has been quoted by The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, STAT News, Time, Newsweek, Univision, and others on health equity issues.