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Author: Jun-Ming Lu, Yeh-Liang Hsu (2013-12-16); recommendation: Yeh-Liang Hsu (2013-12-16).
Note: This paper was presented in The 9th World Conference of the International Society for Gerontechnology (ISG 2014), Taipei, Taiwan, 2014/06. Gerontechnology 2014; 13(2):106

Is there a Gerontechnology industry? Perspectives from Taiwan

Participants  K. Chang (Taiwan), M.-S. Hsu (Taiwan), Y.-W. Liu (Taiwan), J.-M. Lu (Taiwan)  Issue  Following the global trend, it was forecasted that the aging population (65 years old and older) in Taiwan will reach 14% by 2018 and 20% by 2025, which makes the nation the most rapidly aging society1. In addition, reports showed that from 2005 to 2015, there is an annual growth of 5.3% in average on unnecessary spending of older adults in Taiwan2. With these backgrounds, it is natural to expect that the growing demand will open opportunities for a new “Gerontechnology industry.” However, in Taiwan, although required technologies are widely available and most companies have been paying attention to this market segment, the Gerontechnology industry actually did not rise as much as expected. In this symposium, we intend to address the critical issue, “is there a Gerontechnology industry?” Obviously, there is a need. However, is there a market in which the Gerontechnology industry can sustain? How can companies from different industries cut into this market?  Content  By looking at case studies in retail, healthcare, and traditional industries and education in Taiwan, this symposium will first present how organizations can cut into Gerontechnology by finding appropriate product or service applications from various fields. Presentations include: (i) the creation of a portal of, by and for the elderly on the Internet, which provides older adults with physical, mental, and spiritual health toward happy aging (K. Chang); (ii) houspital, the concept of house plus hospital, which allows elderly patients to stay at home with higher-quality home care services (M.-S. Hsu); (iii) developing a bed-centered smart home integrated with interactive lifeware designs for older adults (Y.-W. Liu) (iv) the responsibility of the university as an educational institution for human resource development of the Gerontechnology industry (J.-M. Lu). In addition to describing their products and services, all presentations will address the issue of how the products or services can sustain and grow by designing a proper business plan in their respective fields.  Structure  There will be 4 oral presentations including commentary (15 minutes each), followed by a panel discussion (20 minutes). Based on insights from the case studies, the panel discussion will focus on the more general issue of “is there a market in which the Gerontechnology industry can sustain?” and ultimately, “is there a Gerontechnology industry?”  Conclusion  This symposium expects to give the audience an overview of the challenges and opportunities of the Gerontechnology industry in Taiwan. We also hope to raise the attention on the key issues to the success of Gerontechnology products and services in Taiwan, and how these issues can be properly addressed to achieve the sustainability and long-term viability.

References

Council for Economic Planning and Development, Executive Yuan, Taiwan. Projections of the population of Taiwan, Republic of China: 2012-2060. Taipei: Council for Economic Planning and Development, Executive Yuan, Taiwan; 2012.

Hedrick-Wong Y, The Global Credit Crunch and Long-Term Outlook of Asia’s Consumer Market. APMEA MasterCard Product Conference and Technology Fair 2008, Singapore; 2008.

Keywords: Gerontechnology industry, happy aging, houspital, lifeware, education