The future of ageing

Does anyone know what the future of ageing will be?

Active Older

Welcome to issue 3 of the Ageing Industry Network Newsletter. In the next issue we will be featuring innovations, new research and inspirations in the ageing sector, so please send your contributions through before the end of September.

Jacyl Shaw in her article on the Future in Ageing quotes Joseph Coughlin from the MIT Ageing Labs who says, "The loudest and largest generation in history, the baby boomers are older. Their numbers and needs will place unprecedented demands on ageing services in a time of workforce shortages and budgetary constraints. So is the answer to simply expand the services or is it to ask- what's the new future of ageing?" I don’t think that anyone knows exactly what the future of ageing is going to be, but I’m fairly sure that no one thinks that it will be what we have today - so plenty of opportunity to innovate.

The ageing sector is changing so quickly that it’s difficult to keep up with the latest research and data let alone innovations in technology. One topic of great interest this past quarter has been the built environment and the creation of age-friendly places. It was the theme of a Melbourne Knowledge Week workshop and public event on the 6th of May, a seminar on the 11th May (See The Built Environment Seminar) and a public seminar with Professor Chris Phillipson and Dr Tine Buffel from Manchester University, UK on the 28th June

Despite this interest, there are relatively few age-friendly cities. The list of World Heath Organisation’s (WHO) Global Age-friendly Cities and Communities contains only 258 cities and communities in 30 cities around the world. Could it be that we see age-friendliness as being about frail old people rather than catering to the diverse capabilities, realities, needs, preferences, priorities and lifestyles of the many? Perhaps as Lorraine Farrelly says, we should be designing adaptive spaces for 8-80 year olds John Feather, CEO of Grantmakers in Aging says, “It turns out that most of the things old people need are good for the rest of the community too.” No surprises there!

Update on the Master of Ageing: online subjects running in Term 3 (July) are: Leadership for an Ageing Workforce, End of Life Issues, Body of Ageing, and Ageing Health and Human Services. Those running in Term 4 (October) are: Technology and Ageing, Global Population Ageing, Mental Health and Ageing, and Ethics of Ageing. For more information:

NOTE: This newsletter is published quarterly and informative contributions about research, innovations and ideas in the ageing sector are most welcome. Contributions should be around 300 words accompanied by landscape format images (max 1.8MB) with captions.