Steered by an international and prestigious committee, the AgeingFit conference programme is designed to address the main issues of the healthy ageing and senior care sectors: from major financial and regulatory aspects to the latest innovations in health, nutrition and care.

The 2022 programme is organised around 5 tracks addressing the challenges of innovation for ageing well, from prevention to care.

PLENARY SESSION

DAY 1 – Tuesday, March 1st

11.00 am – 12.30 pm CET

Optimising innovation strategies in the silver economy: How to meet the needs of older adults of different age groups and health conditions?

There is no such thing as a “typical” older person. Some people have physical and mental capacities at eighty comparable to those of young adults, while others experience a sharp decline in their abilities at a much younger age. When combined with significant differences in wealth and culture, the result is a wide range of older people’s experiences and needs that public health policies and innovators must consider.

How to offer concrete solutions to a diversity of situations and needs? How does this disparity affect older adults’ expectations? What is the current market segmentation for health innovations in the silver economy and according to what criteria? What are the most dynamic sub-sectors? What type of business model is best suited to meet this complex demand? What is the role of experimentation and co-construction with potential users in innovation strategies?

Moderator: Jane Baratt, Secretary-General, International Federation of Ageing

TRACK 1: Scaling up health innovations in the silver economy

This track aims to provide the silver economy players with a fresh look at the innovative healthy ageing policies, funding sources and investments to navigate a changing market, to identify opportunities and to innovate successfully.

DAY 1 – Tuesday, March 1st

5.15 pm – 6.15 pm CET

To what extent is interoperability a tool for competitiveness in the silver economy?

Interoperability is critical to healthcare innovation. As such, to be successful, innovators must ensure that their solutions and applications can fit with existing infrastructures of healthcare institutions and that they provide and exploit healthcare data in an appropriate and secure manner. What are the keys to designing interoperable health innovations? How to deal with data security and privacy? How to ensure the interoperability of a device or a solution even before knowing its users? Has the COVID-19 pandemic removed some of the barriers to interoperability? What are the standards and novel solutions facilitating interoperability?

Moderator: Blanca Jordan, Global Health and Life Science Product Owner for Interoperability, Atos

  • Harriet Teare, Programme Director for the UK SPINE Knowledge Exchange, University of Oxford
  • Jordi Piera Jiménez, Director of the Digital Health Strategy Office, Sistema de Salut de Catalunya

DAY 2 – Wednesday, March 2nd

10.30 am – 11.30 am CET

Which funding sources to scale sustainable innovations for healthy ageing?

Innovation in the healthy ageing sector is diverse and characterised by different sub-sectors and business models. Funding sources can therefore be equally diverse, ranging from generalist funds to angel investors, public investments, and grants. While the money exists, the challenge remains to ensure that it is dedicated to key ageing-related issues and in a scalable way. This session intends to give an overview of the current state of investment in healthy ageing and on the main players investing in the sector. What are the sources of funding available and what are the key factors to attract investors´ attention? What kind of new funding models and Europe-wide collaborations would be most effective in scaling up new ideas and businesses? How to practically leverage public and private financial instruments and what can policy makers and governments do to further support them?

Moderator: Andy Bleaden, Community Director, ECHAlliance

2.00 pm – 3.30 pm CET

What are the most recent initiatives to better involve senior citizens in the development of health innovations?

Involving end-users in the innovation process allows for the development of products and services that are best adapted to them, meeting their specific needs, and thus having a better chance of viability in a dedicated market. How to involve older adults in this process and in what ways do they specifically contribute? What are the main hurdles to overcome in these collaborations? Should older adults be involved in a different way than other consumer groups? What structures or platforms currently exist to better facilitate the co-development of innovations through testing with seniors? Are these solutions successful?

Moderator: Susie Ruff, CEO & Executive Director, RUFF & CO. Business Innovation

TRACK 2: Prevention and nutrition for active ageing

Good nutrition is key to the health of older adults. The challenges of their nutritional needs, of their sensory food perception and appetite, offers an increased potential for innovation for researchers and food manufacturers. This track aims to give insight into the latest innovative products, scientific breakthroughs, and nutrition market opportunities, and to explore the eating behaviours of older adults.

DAY 1 – Tuesday, March 1st

4.00 pm – 5.00 pm CET

How can nutrition be used as a strategic approach to promote ageing well?

Nutrition, from birth to older age, has an impact on health, whether it is positive or negative. Promoting healthy eating habits and physical activity as well as identifying opportunities to reduce risk factors at key stages of life is critical to prevention and healthy ageing. What are the determining factors? What are the recommendations and needs to be covered? How can a healthy diet lead to a healthy lifestyle? Who are the most appropriate prescribers to promote healthy eating and advise on nutrition and physical activity? How can opportunities for action be identified and health promotion organised? What might be the role of the food industry?

Moderator: Yaël Benvenisti, CEO, Mediterranean Towers Ventures

DAY 2 – Wednesday, March 2nd

9.00 am – 10.00 am CET

Practitioners’ perspectives on preventing malnutrition: Dietary practices and needs of older adults

This panel will bring together geriatricians, dieticians, and care professionals to share their daily experiences of how they assess and manage the nutritional needs of older patients or residents. How important is the prevention of malnutrition in the care they provide? How is the nutritional care structured and what are the challenges faced? How flexible can practitioners be in adapting to the needs and nutritional status of each person?

  • Regina Roller-Wirnsberger Professor or Geriatric Medicine and Competence Based Curricular Development, Medical University of Graz

11.45 am – 12.45 pm CET

The role of nutrition in the recovery of older adults with COVID-19

For most older patients, the severity of COVID-19 disease, coupled with potential pre-existing malnutrition or co-morbidities can lead to significant nutritional challenges. Possibly moving from an extended period of intensive care, older people with COVID-19 may require ongoing nutritional support, tailored to their individual needs, to fully recover. What does the research show in terms of nutritional status and recovery? What may be the lasting health impacts of COVID-19 on older patients and what nutritional care pathway should be implemented accordingly?

TRACK 3: Diagnosing and treating age-related conditions

While ageing itself is not a disease, it is a risk factor for a range of conditions as people age.

This track will look at ongoing research projects and developments in understanding the mechanisms behind frailty and age-related conditions, how to diagnose and target a range of common late-life diseases and how such research can lead to better prevention.

DAY 1 – Monday, March 1st

9.00 am – 10.30 am CET

Biology of ageing and healthy lifespan expansion: Examining what we do and do not know about the ageing process and how it impacts research development

What do we actually know about the biology of ageing and the relationship between ageing and age-related diseases? Is there a consensus on what the biology of ageing is, its research framework and guiding principles? Where do we stand in terms of clinical research and treatments for the main health conditions in older age? What advances in the next ten years could improve ageing and age-related conditions for all? Are collaborations the key to bridging the knowledge gaps? What about funding? Is this field of research attractive for early-stage investors? Which social and economic benefits can be anticipated? Where to draw the ethical line?

2.00 pm – 3.30 pm CET

Frailty in older adults: Good practices in diagnosis, assessment, management, and medication

Frailty is generally defined as a syndrome that combines the effects of natural ageing with the consequences of multiple long-term conditions and is characterised by a decline in body functions and systems. Identification and assessment of frailty is therefore essential to provide adapted geriatric interventions but remains difficult. How to screen and detect frailty? How to assess the level of frailty? Are there clear biological and clinical markers? What are the current tools or medical devices to detect and support frail older adults? What are the latest research findings in this area? What are the keys to tailoring geriatric interventions and avoiding multimorbidity?

DAY 2 – Wednesday, March 2nd

10.30 am – 11.30 am CET

Alzheimer’s disease: Towards new diagnostic and therapeutic leads

The continuous increase in life expectancy has led to a fast-growing number of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. As a result, research in the field has intensified, focusing on drug discovery and devices for the prevention and cure of the disease. Where are we in terms of genetic research and understanding of neurodegenerative diseases? What progress has been made in early diagnosis? What are the goals of future treatments? What are the current infrastructures, funding sources and incentives to accelerate research in the field?

  • Sotiria Moza, Cognitive neuropsychologist MSc, MAT Noesis Cognitive Center and Tech Solutions Ltd

TRACK 4: Innovations in residential care settings

How are residential care settings responding to the demand of a growing ageing population? What type of innovation is happening in long-term care?  How are institutions adapting in the way they provide care and in their interactions with stakeholders?  This track intends to review the most recent initiatives, the new collaborations, and the pioneering organisational models at a European scale.

DAY 1 – Tuesday, March 1st

9.00 am – 10.30 am CET

How can technology enable carers to free up time to the benefit of residents?

Care home workers are often consumed with daily tasks in caring for senior residents and are under increased pressure in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only can the physical and mental well-being of staff be affected, but ultimately the quality of care provided to residents can be severely diminished. Since it is often necessary to do more with less, innovative technologies and intelligent systems can prove beneficial and improve the efficiency of processes within care facilities. What are the uses of these technologies to support a decrease in the workload of care staff? How can they participate in increasing the autonomy of residents? To what extent can they increase the time available to carers for more informal care?

Moderator: Ad van Berlo, Manager R&D, Smart Homes

4.00 pm – 5.00 pm CET

How is virtual reality applied in the care of long-term facilities residents?

Virtual reality, delivered through immersive headsets, has the potential to provide interventions to improve physical, mental, and psychosocial health. How are virtual reality (VR) devices suitable for the care of older adults? How are they perceived by residents and staff? How are caregivers using VR in residential care settings? What are the effects of VR on seniors’ mental health? What are the current incentives and barriers to further deploy this technology?

DAY 2 – Wednesday, March 2nd

11.45 am – 12.45 pm CET

Towards seamless care services: How are care homes adapting their value proposition by entering the home care market?

The priority today in Europe regarding public policy is to promote care at home, as people are happier to age in their own home and it remains less expensive in terms of care. In addition, the image of care facilities has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, care homes are still essential for people who need extra medical support. What should the future of care homes be? How are they answering this care transformation? What are the main challenges in providing new services at home? What are residential care providers’ main assets? How is technology speeding up their diversification towards the home? Can they legitimately position themselves as key players in the coordination of the older person’s care pathway between the city, the home, and the medico-social establishment?

Moderator: Stefan Kroll, International Affairs / Business Development, Management Board, terzStiftung

  • Jane Baratt, Secretary-General, International Federation of Ageing

TRACK 5: Technologies and services for ageing well at home

As most of the ageing population aspires to age in place, this track focuses on the challenges to access care and preserve independence at home. What are the innovation opportunities in building a care system that both meets older adults’ expectations and keeps them safe? To what extent are we reassessing the whole living space and designing age-friendly solutions?

DAY 1 – Tuesday, March 1st

2.00 pm – 3.30 pm CET

How to adapt existing digital technologies to older adults’ needs at home?

How are technologies designed today and to what extent should they be adapted to support ageing well? Are voice assistants, tablets and smartphones used by older people at home and for what purposes? How are large players such as technology giants focusing on the home care market? What are the prospects for developing health technologies that evolve over the life course?

Moderator: James Somauroo, Co-Founder & CEO, SomX 

DAY 2 – Wednesday, March 2nd

9.00 am – 10.00 am CET

What are the keys to creating innovative and integrated care services for ageing in place?

How can different organisations such as hospitals, local care providers and associations work together to deliver the best services and support for older adults in their home? This session will look at innovative examples of cooperation between health services and providers to plan and coordinate support for older people at home.

Moderator: Carina Dantas, CEO, SHINE 2Europe

4.00 pm – 5.00 pm CET

How can we make existing houses smarter for ageing and care support?

As people age, physical impairments or disabilities that make daily life more difficult become more probable. Investing in home adaptation can improve wellbeing, reduce hospital admissions, and avoid or delay residential care. What are the good practices in adapting existing housing? What are the examples of innovative and pioneering approaches to enable people to keep on living in their homes for longer? How can smart equipment be integrated and to what extent does it facilitate ageing in place? How does a digitally connected home contribute to the quality of life and how to ensure that more older adults are connected in ways that suit them in their existing homes?

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