Cracking the code to healthy ageing

People from a range of public sector, academic and voluntary organisations across the North West have taken part in an ‘Innovation Lab’ hosted by Stockport Council.

Cracking the code to healthy ageing

Its aim was to identify digital solutions to help older people live independently for longer within their communities.

As a nation we’re living longer but not necessarily healthier lives and as a result, we are struggling to cope with rising healthcare costs as well as missing the opportunity to benefit from these additional years of life. By 2039 Greater Manchester’s working age population is set to grow by 5% but the number of residents aged over 65 will expand by 53%. The same period will see a doubling of the number of over 85s.

Stockport Council aim to give local people the support and tools they need to come together and create stronger communities. Digital is at the heart of this strategy and the ‘Innovation Lab’ explored digital solutions to help older people live healthy and active lives. Steve Skelton, Head of Policy at Stockport Council commented: “The Council is always looking for new, more open ways to improve our services, so it was great to give the Innovation Lab a try. It shows what can be done when people get together and collaborate.”

Participants at the event were divided into four groups to address the four key problem areas: living independently and preventing falls; nutrition and hydration; isolation; preventative activity for body and mind. Each group was assigned a technical developer to help turn the ideas into digital solutions which ensured that a number of innovative and affordable working ideas emerged.

Dr Donna Sager, Stockport’s Deputy Director of Public Health said: “It’s great working with our older residents to see how technology can be used to really improve their health and wellbeing. There have been some excellent ideas that we can use as part of our ‘Ageing Well’ programme“

There was additionally an element of competition to the event. All the ideas will be judged by DataMill North against the outputs from similar events in Leeds and Newcastle and one winning idea will be selected for further development across the whole North-West region. The winner will be announced next week.