This series of blog posts by author Patti Digh will focus on aging in the countries whose wines we will taste at our Wine Around the World event on Thursday, October 12, 2017. Purchase tickets here! Wine Around the World 2017.
Reinventing Eldercare with Robotics in New Zealand
The New Zealand population is expected to get a lot older in the next few decades, according to the latest Statistics New Zealand report. The number of people aged 85 years and older will more than triple, from about 83,000 in 2016 to between 270,000 and 320,000 in the next 30 years. The population of over-65s will roughly double–from around 700,000 now to between 1.3 and 1.5 million in 2046. As the population ages and the gap between births and deaths narrows, overall population growth is expected to slow to less than 1 percent in the 2030s.
In response, the New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) recently announced it will fund two teams to work collaboratively with Japan on innovative ways to improve elderly care through robotics and human assistive devices, specifically the design and scoping requirements for a lightweight robotic arm as well as improvements to a robotic assistive walking suit in collaboration with the Japanese Shinshu University.
In addition, New Zealand has begun building multi-purpose residential communities, effectively reinventing how residential aged care is provided. By having small communities or “households” of twelve residents within the larger community of the care home, the new residences provide an environment where people who live there have a real sense of belonging and are truly at home.