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Caregivers are in constant contact with patients and seniors and therefore involving them in the creation of innovative products and services seems obvious. However, in practice, the industry does not automatically think of involving this community of users in its research and development.

How can caregivers become more involved? What are the best ways to encourage innovative ideas from these professionals?

Listen to examples of success stories that highlight the importance of rethinking the innovation process and the impact this has had on market access for the resulting products and services.

They will share their experiences:

  • Metzenthin Philippe, Managing Director, MeDeTic Technologies, FR
  • Boissard Sophie, General Manager, Korian, FR
  • Zimmermann Gottfried, Professor, University of Stuttgart, DE
  • Pape Lise, Manager, Walkwithpath, UK
  • Vastenburg Martin, Managing Director, Connected Care, NL

Discover the event’s agenda and learn more about:

  • The Steering Committee
  • The conferences and the speakers
  • The two-day agenda
  • The hosted event
  • The visibility opportunities

Download the complete agenda

In your opinion, as a healthy ageing expert, how do you see the sector’s evolution over the next ten years?

Depending on the country where we live, ageing will probably have different aspects, even if we have a “unified” European union. Overall I see three major stages in the ageing process:

·         Healthy active ageing people

·         Those who need some limited assistance

·         Those who need significant assistance

The evolution will be completely different, depending at which stage the senior finds him/herself. For healthy active seniors, the limiting factor will be their financial situation, although European governments should be able to create a suitable environment to support and provide resources for healthy senior people to live at home, and have a good quality of life.

For those who need some limited assistance environment, they will probably stay at home. Home care and home services are becoming more and more developed and affordable for most of them. The bottleneck in our system will be the skilled nursing home environment and more specifically, the way local governments are going to handle this issue.

In ten years, I expect people will only come to skilled nursing homes in the final phase of their life cycle. This means they will be highly dependent on very expensive highly skilled care. The biggest challenges in our future social system will be how governments cope with these exploding costs, and how far our society will be willing to go to support seniors in need.

In the last two years of our lives, we generally spend over 80% of the total medical spend of our entire lifetime. In some European countries today, there is an on-going discussion about how far we, as a community, want to go in providing expensive medical treatments for the elderly. I am concerned that politicians will increasingly regard ageing as a cost issue or as a burden and not as a challenge to improve quality of life.

Therefore, it will be very important to invent new models and technologies that will reduce the cost of care and treatments and include policy makers, innovators and industry experts in the discussion.  The priority is to maintain quality of life on top of our agenda.


How has Sodexo, a company targeting the consumer market, adapted to the needs of the senior care sector?

As a quality of life service provider, we are constantly reinventing our offers. We have a large range of specifically adapted food, wellness, technical and hospitality offers for care providers and for residents or clients at home who have practical needs or are living with dementia.


Are you involved in any specific collaborations with health professionals and the food industry tho address this market?

Yes, indeed. For example, we have fostered a partnership with the European and International Association of Homes and Services for the Ageing.

We have invested in research together with Leading Age, the leading US industry partner for ageing professionals.

In the future, we will probably increase these contacts and create deeper collaborations with leading health professionals and industry partners. In addition, we have our in-company quality of life institute that studies and publishes research about ageing issues as well.


What is the role of innovation when accessing the senior care market?

Increasing innovation will help us to diversify in this highly competitive environment. Today, we are focusing specifically on internal innovations that come from our teams in the field. Tomorrow, we will probably integrate technical innovations into our overall offer for seniors.


Do you think that the existing regulations are adapted to this changing sector?

I am not concerned about whether regulations will be adapted or not. The bigger challenge is the financing necessary to support the numerous new regulations that governments are imposing on the sector.


The AgeingFit business convention provides a unique exchange framework to facilitate collaborations and foster innovation between researchers, investors, buyers and users in the sector. What do you expect from this event?

I hope that young researchers and entrepreneurs considering investing in the senior sector will come to the event. In my opinion, AgeingFit will become the unique event to showcase their ideas or products with interested and relevant industry partners.


In-depth interview with Jesús Valero Congil, Health Division Director of Tecnalia Research & Innovation and one of AgeingFit’s Steering Committee members.

In your opinion, as a healthy ageing expert, how do you see the sector’s evolution over the next ten years?

Ageing is one of the biggest trends humanity is facing. It will affect not only Europe, but has worldwide implications. In the next 40 years, the senior population (over 65 years old) will increase in Europe to nearly 30%.

For example, in densely populated countries such as India, the number of people over 60 years old will dramatically increase from 100 million to 300 million in 2050. The potential risks for health systems are huge, but so are the opportunities to develop new products in the area of healthy ageing. In Europe, for example, people over 65 years old will account for half of overall household spending and in addition, their main focus will be on health.

I see this sector as a rapidly evolving field, where fast adoption of new technologies will be one of the driving forces of change. Europe should take advantage of being the region with the highest percentage of seniors to position itself as the leading expert in healthy ageing and export its knowledge to other regions.


How could the senior healthcare system be structured at a European level in order to facilitate market access?

I think this can be summarized in a single word: Ecosystem. Healthy ageing is a multidimensional phenomenon and Europe’s leadership in this field will only be possible if we bring together all the stakeholders concerned, from patients to public authorities and industry. If I had to select a single action to be implemented to facilitate market access, I would choose public procurement as a key driver.


How do you think the path from innovation to market could be accelerated in this sector? What financial and organisational resources will be necessary to support this?

The implementation of tools to deal with both technological and commercialisation challenges is absolutely necessary. From a research centre’s perspective, it is difficult to attract funding for proof-of-concepts to develop prototypes from promising technologies. In parallel, most researchers lack the organizational resources to present, defend and organize these ideas from a commercial (non- scientific) perspective. From a start-up’s point of view, transforming a pre-industrial prototype into a market product can also be challenging, especially in emerging markets such as healthy ageing.


The AgeingFit business convention provides a unique exchange framework to facilitate collaborations and foster innovation between researchers, investors, buyers and users in the sector. What do you expect from this event?

AgeingFit was necessary. I consider Ageingfit as a tool to build the necessary ecosystem, integrating research and development, investment and product commercialization. By organizing conferences, an exhibition and a business convention, the participants will find all the ingredients to discuss new ideas and products in this field.

For this first edition, AgeingFit offers a rich and varied programme supported by a presigious Steering Committee. International experts in the healthy ageing sector, with various profiles such as academics, associations, clusters, health insurers, retirement home managers, investors, large and small companies, compose the Steering Committee of AgeingFit.

The programme is organised around three tracks:

  • From demand to idea
  • From idea to innovation
  • From innovation to market

These themes will be discussed by 60 high-level speakers during 13 conferences and roundtables over the two-day event.


AgeingFit is the first European business convention dedicated to innovation in the Silver Economy, gathering 600 actors from research to market, including: E-health, medical devices, nutrition industrials, services providers and academic research groups, as well as health insurers and retirement homes.

At AgeingFit, all these actors will be able to efficiently identify and connect with potential business, research and financial partners, in order to launch new products and/or services for the senior market.

Indepth interview with Astrid Stuckelberger, Co-founder and President of the Geneva International Network on Ageing (GINA), Privat-Docent, PhD, MSc Faculty of Medicine, University of Geneva (Switzerland) and one of AgeingFit’s Steering Committee members.

In your opinion, as a healthy ageing expert, how do you see the sector’s evolution over the next ten years?

I foresee a significant evolution in the healthy ageing sector and a change in the perception of ageing, currently centered on age-related pathologies, towards a vision centered on health, well-being and ageing well at any stage of life.

Furthermore, I think we can observe differences between generations and we shouldn’t generalise. Research shows that generations are not the same. Each of them has specific characteristics: The “baby boomers” for example, are very marked by the post-war years, the 1968 revolution, freedom of speech and choice and new technologies. Market studies show that “baby boomers” are more active and keener on innovation and technology than their parents and grandparents. The latter, part of the older generation (over 70 years old), have more difficulty in using, understanding and making the most of new technologies.

Consequently, the major change in the next ten years will go beyond our simple wish to remain healthy. The desire to remain autonomous and efficient throughout our life will become a market priority. We can expect a dramatic increase in customized, self-managed or ‘connected’ solutions which will allow seniors to continue to live at home. Market influence will drive the implementation of all these developments in line with the consumers’ demand to not only maintain their physical, mental and social well –being, but also to improve it.

We will witness an evolution towards a new idea of ageing, where seniors wish to stay ‘fit’, in other words, stay healthy, strong and active throughout their life.

Currently, the major challenges are the political and legal delays in passing the necessary legislation, the lack of financing and the adaptation of other sectors to this new market. There is a continued perception that ageing is synonymous with misery and inevitable decline, although today, science is helping to refute this idea.


How should the healthcare system for seniors be restructured on a European scale? Do we have to rethink our concept of home care?

This concept needs to be reworked to achieve a balanced cost/benefit ratio that takes into account Europe’s vital need for social and economic coherence.

I see two important aspects: Prevention and technical assistance.

It is essential to focus on prevention and act before disease develops. Today, tools to prevent and pre-diagnose exist but they are neither used nor financed in the current healthcare system. Diabetes is an obvious example: On average, this condition develops ten years before diagnosis. However, it can be avoided or limited at a low cost, provided it is detected in time. The new health care system will have to propose this type of prevention in order to avoid predictable diseases from developing.

Secondly, opportunities for technological assistance in the case of reduced physical and /or mental capacity have to be studied. This assistance would maintain seniors’ independence, resulting in lower health care costs.


What are the financial and organisational resources necessary to support these changes? How can we develop the healthy ageing market?

I think the private sector will enable this development. For example, in the nutrition or home monitoring sectors, manufactured products result from strong consumer demand. Researchers are only realising now that they need to catch up, which explains the creation of programmes such as the AAL and H2020 to finance technological advances for seniors.

However, for this market to emerge and flourish, there must be a real change in policy, away from being focused on illness to being focused on health. 2012 was declared “European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations”, which shows strong political support despite the fact that for the moment, there has been no concrete action. We have to show more willingness to build a consistent and structured market.

This is a real change of mindset from seeing ageing as morbid to seeing ageing as “Fit” and this concept has to be integrated into policy but also taken into consideration by healthcare professionals, industrials and financing bodies.


The AgeingFIT business convention provides a unique exchange framework to facilitate collaborations and foster innovation between researchers, investors, buyers and users in the sector. What do you expect from this event?

AgeingFIT is a great idea in order to foster innovation. The event encourages key actors to come together in one place for two days, to share their knowledge and know-how and mutually benefit from these exchanges. This is a real opportunity for co-creation, which will result in new collaborations and solutions. Over time, this annual event will also become an indicator of the huge potential of the healthy ageing market.

After the success of the 1st call for projects “Silver Surfer 1.0”, launched by Eurasanté, we are proud to announce the launch of the 2nd call for projects: “Silver Surfer 2.0”.

The selected theme has wide ranging appeal while remaining very relevant to the Silver Economy:  Disability compensation.

Applicants must present a project related to the main theme and in relation with the followings categories:

    • Mobility: The digital era has brought new solutions for people with decreased autonomy, inside or outside the home, on public transport or in public places
    • Social link: Loss of autonomy reduces social interactions. The digital technologies offer new opportunities to improve the seniors’ social life
    • Respite: Technological advances could bring solutions to the time-consuming activity of caregiving
    • Alzheimer’s Disease : The prevalence of this disease will increase in the next few years and digital innovation offers many innovation opportunities (including monitoring, cognitive assessment, training and games


A 3-steps approach:

STEP 1 – 15th June 2016: Applications submission

STEP 2 – 22nd September 2016: Proof of concept/funding for the selected applications

STEP 3 – During AgeingFit 2017: Selection of winners after the presentation of the proofs of concept and pitching in front of a group of end-users.

The originality of this approach is the involvement of the end users in the selection of successful projects. This brings the innovations closer to the final users.


The winners will be selected during AgeingFit, in order to provide more extensive coverage at this event and the opportunity for projects to be submitted directly to professionals and end-users.

Gathering for the first time at the end of May, the AgeingFit’s Steering Committee will discuss the conference programme topics and speakers, and organisation of the event. Benefiting from their knowledge and expertise of the sector, we will build a varied and rich agenda, featuring the latest opinions on trending topics in the healthy ageing sector.

Among those who have already confirmed their presence, we are honored to welcome:

  • Astrid Stuckelberger, President, Geneva International Network on Aging, CH
  • Karina Marcus, Director, Ambient Assisted Living Associations, BE
  • Anne-Sophie Parent, Director, Age Platform Europe, BE
  • Jan Sikkema, Director Business Development, Healthy Ageing Campus, NL
  • Catherine Marcadier, Directrice Générale, France Silver Eco, FR
  • Aude Letty, General Secretary, Institut du Bien Viellir Korian, FR
  • Frank Bulens, Partner, Capricorne Ventures, NL

Keep up to date on AgeingFit’s topics on our website.