Month: August 2016

A research network for an ageing society in Canada

Written by Urs Obrist, STC, Embassy of Switzerland in Ottawa

The AGE-WELL NCE (Aging Gracefully across Environments using Technology to Support Wellness, Engagement and Long Life NCE Inc.) is a Canadian research network in technology and aging. AGE-WELL was launched in 2015 through the federally funded Networks of Centres of Excellence program and runs from March 2015 to February 2020. AGE-WELL addresses a wide range of complex issues in technology and aging through receptor-driven transdisciplinary research, training programs, partnerships, knowledge mobilization and the commercial development of technologies. It aims to help older Canadians to maintain their independence, health and quality of life through accessible technologies that increase their safety and security, support their independent living, and enhance their social participation.





Written by Daniel Grünenfelder, STC, Embassy of Switzerland in Buenos Aires

Similar to the situation in mature economies the trend of an ageing society will also be on Argentina’s horizon in a not too distant future.

 2030: The End of a Young Society

Argentine 1

Source: United Nations, CEPAL

The increase of life expectancy is notable in Latin America and Argentina. Whereas in 1950 life expectancy was at 62,2 years, it is expected to increase up to 81,4 years by 2050 in Argentina. According to the most recent census (for the year 2010) of the National Institute for Statistics and Censuses (INDEC), the population over 65 years corresponds to 10,2%, the one over 60 years to 14,6% of the total population in Argentina. This makes Argentina the third oldest country in Latin America, just after Uruguay and Cuba. In the city of Buenos Aires, already 1 out of 5 persons is over 60 years old (21,66%). According to the Civil Association of Integrated Medical Activities (ACAMI), “[T]he ageing of the population represents the biggest economic and social challenge of the 21st century in Argentina.” But people not only get older, there is also a notable decrease in the birth rate, most of all in urban and economically and socially developed areas of the country. Due to this twofold development, the relation between the population over 60 years and below 10 years will gradually get inverted.


Innovations for an ageing society

Have you heard of the “AAL Programme”?

The world is currently experiencing an unprecedented demographic shift with an increasing number of men and women reaching old age. To better meet the needs of the elderly, new approaches are needed. The aim of the AAL – “Active and Assisted Living” – Programme is to improve the quality of life of the elderly thanks to technological innovations, which are being developed through international consortia. Switzerland is in fact a leader in the research and development of technologies for better ageing. Swiss organisations are involved in a third of all projects in the programme and have a success rate of over 30% in the yearly AAL calls.

We would like to give you insights into the programme by presenting four innovative projects involving Swiss project participants. These case studies have also been featured in a recent national publication on the AAL programme produced by SERI (the Swiss Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation).

Elderly woman typing on the smartphone. Grandma.


Aging societies in Brazil: the view of a developing country, its needs, and its possibilities

Written by Irene Meier, scientific advisor for swissnex Brazil

When I first arrived in Rio de Janeiro, I was struck by the treadmills, elliptical machines, and stationary bicycles on every major plaza and on many street corners. These free open air “gyms for the third age”, invitingly colorful and populated at all times, day and night, are geared towards the elderly population and serve equally as sports facility and neighborhood gossip central. Along with the vigorously enforced special queues for over-sixty-year-olds in every supermarket, bank or post office, they stand as symbols of Brazilians’ respect for their seniors. But is Brazil ready to absorb and care for a rapidly aging society?


Example of an “academia de terceira idade” in Rio de Janeiro