With more than 5 years of professional experience in design, technology, and management, I identify as a designer, founder, and entrepreneur. Prior to joining RCA, I have worked on a diverse range of projects for clients that include non-profit organisations, startups, and large corporations. These projects have primarily focused on research, social innovation, digital transformation, and program management. I strive to constantly reinvent myself with the rationale, resolve and readiness required to tackle complex problems that persist within our systems.
Society often associates individuals with their age. They are expected to behave, set goals, and have a routine solely based on their chronological age. However, can a mere number truly define how a person should live their life? This issue is particularly pertinent to older people, as societal perceptions restrict their opportunities and choices. These ingrained perceptions also influence the regulatory bodies and support systems available to older individuals, resulting in predominantly reactive approaches that limit current services being restricted to the medical needs or functional needs of older people.
One fundamental problem lies in the general categorisation of anyone over the age of 60 as "old," leading to services primarily focused on assistance and care. However, the reality is that older individuals' needs are evolving and are different at various stages of their later years. Prior to reaching a stage of complete dependence, they aspire to pursue ambitions, explore new careers, and engage in new hobbies. Despite their strong will, diminishing functional capabilities often prevent them from utilizing regular services. Consequently, older individuals grapple with various emotions, including fear of the unknown, denial of the need to change everyday habits to support their needs, and self-consciousness regarding perceived incapability.
How can we effectively support older individuals during their transition period and help them lead the lives they envision for themselves? With the ageing population projected to double and reach nearly 10 million within the next 15 years, addressing these needs becomes increasingly urgent. It is crucial to move beyond the reactive lens and develop comprehensive support systems that accommodate the evolving aspirations and challenges faced by older individuals.