Ageing Asia Innovation Forum celebrates 15th Anniversary in Style

The purpose of Ageing Asia World Ageing Festival is to gather innovators, researchers, practitioners, managers, decision, and policy makers, as well as seniors. The festival is made of a number of events -Ageing Asia Innovation Forum, Singapore Geronpreneurship innovation festival and World Ageing festival, all containing a large variety of presentations and panel discussions.

The festival is always a fantastic opportunity for knowledge, connection and collaboration, and it is always a pleasure for HUR Australia to be part of this global Ageing Festival with HUR teams from Singapore, Finland and Malaysia.

This year the theme of the festival was "Redefining Care: Activating Communities of The Future" bringing to the platform the changing landscape of eldercare and its impact on communities globally. One of the key topics of the event was the inclusion and possibilities of technology as the number of innovations in the area increases supporting care services and opening opportunities for novel therapies.

The week started with the 12th Eldercare Innovation Awards 2024

UniLinkSynergie research group (from left to right):  Kari Bäckman (Benete), Dr Tuire Karaharju-Huisman (HUR Australia), Dr Toini Harra (Metropolia University of Applied Sciences), Markku Myllylä (Metropolia University of Applied Sciences)

This year we were finalists in the Innovation of the Year, Smart Care Technology – Operational Management Solution category with a collaboration project with three Finnish collaboration partners: Metropolia University of Applied Science, Predicell and Benete, supported by Finnish National Agency for Education.

Our project, UniLinkSynergie, Better Life and Care through Agetech Collaboration, describes a flexible service platform that allows for the merge of eg. exercise, mobility and health data to define effects, patterns and change, allowing the health tech data to move from reporting and reaction to prevention and health improvement, supporting ageing in place and the promotion of health and wellness.

The project is progressing as a University study, allowing us to explore the possibilities we have. We are excited for the collaboration and cannot wait to see where this project will lead us. The project is progressing as a University study, allowing us to provide evidence on the methodology, and to explore the possibilities we have. 

Team Finland at the HUR Booth (from left to right):  Markku Myllylä,  Dr Toini Harra, Annika Wohlstrom, Dr Tuire Karaharju-Huisman, H.E. Juha Markkanen, Tommi Pitka, Irma Ylikangas, Lena Smeds-Fury, Dr Jillian Yeoh

The program continued with The Ageing Asia Policy Roundtable, that brought together global experts, thought leaders, and professionals to discuss the opportunities and challenges in the field of ageing, on order to drive change in the industry.

Australian Representation at the festival (from left to right): Belinda Allen, ACCPA General Manager. Services & Sector Capacity: Tom Symondson, ACCPA CEO; Dr Tuire Karaharju-Huisman, HUR Australia, Julianne Parkinson, CEO Global Centre for Modern Ageing® (GCMA)

It was great to see Australian situation and solution models presented by the Chief Executive officer of Aged and Community Care Providers Association (ACCPA), Mr Tom Symondson.

ACCPA CEO Tom Symondson presented the future directions of aged care in Australia.

In his presentation he discussed the future directions of aged care in Australia, with the short and long term influences in the industry, that is guided by the still progressing Aged Care Act, as well as the funding changes in the industry. The future is leading to the Ageing at home model, that requires more home care and consumer directed care, requiring more innovations that supported care at home.

With the existing models and future visions from presenters from Asia, USA and Europe, ideas were shared and thoughts created, with the hope for good ageing to all.

The panel discussing "Future of Age Tech Innovations for Successful Ageing in place” consisted of (from left to right): Lim Chwee Foon, CEO ,Asia Pacific, Ekso Bionics; Sue Thomson CEO, McLean Care, iAge Health, Australia; Mohamed Farouk, IT, Innovation & Digitalisation Division , Agency of Integrated Care (AIC), Singapore; Dr Tuire Karaharju-Huisman, HUR Australia; EZ Bala, Founder & CEO, Alphind healthcare, United States of America.

The official opening started with a Singapore book of records challenge, with the largest intergenerational fitness drum performance. The vision of people of all ages drumming to a familiar song brought a smile to everyone’s face, creating a positive start for a wonderful festival.

The program on two stages was filled with many presentations and experts’ panels. HUR Australia’s Dr Tuire Karaharju-Huisman was part of panel that discussed  "Future of Age Tech Innovations for Successful Ageing in place”, specifically:

  • What are the roles technology will play in the future long term care eco-system for the 100 year client?
  • What are the game changing strategies technology innovators can take to change the future of ageing?
  • What are the technology innovations that will increase our ability to age-in-place?
  • How will new trends in technology benefit ageing and longevity?

The panel that consisted of people with knowledge on technology, innovation and allied health discussed the possibilities, and collaborations that allow us to explore the improvements in care whilst placing the client service in the centre.

As said by panellist Chwee Foon Lim :

”Ability to harness the power of data and intelligence presents game changing opportunity to enable personalised, pre-emptive and home based care. A great step forward towards the much needed patient centric care, empowering individuals to take ownership of their wellbeing and health.”

and summarised by panel chairperson Ez Bala:

”Interoperability intended to elevate 'care' to whole person care is what separates pragmatic Age-Tech innovation from Shiny Object technology marvel. Seniors need simply sophisticated means to know how well they are doing, what they can do about it, and how do they know it works. Every day.”

We know that The Use of technology is increasing. With hundreds of applications and devices currently available, World Health Organisation (WHO) launched the Global Initiative on Digital Health in February, aiming to  facilitate WHO’s Global strategy on Digital Health 2020-2025. It is time for all of us to get in action!

At our HUR booth we were able to share our developments and solutions for strength and balance training. We were grateful to welcome His Excellency, Ambassador of Finland to Singapore, Juha Markkanen, and counsellor of innovation and trade Irma Ylikangas who joined us to celebrate the export of Finnish Health Tech.

The Vision and passion of Janice Chia has lead to the success of Ageing Asia.

With HUR teams from Singapore, Finland, Australia and Malaysia, we shared many great conversations from our visitors.

The event finished with the Asia Pacific Eldercare Innovation Awards and Gala Dinner. Many Australian companies were winners in their categories, showing the strength in our industry, and especially the appreciation of innovation. You can read more about the winners via this link.

Our team HUR was very proud to be part of the event, and to receive two finalist awards for Dr Jillian Yeoh, Managing director at IMM Healthcare representing HUR in Malaysia, and Dr Tuire from Australia for the Collaborative project described above.

Whilst the industry is facing some challenges, we must look forward; innovate, collaborate and explore to find the best care possible. The research provides us the facts, we must create the successful pathways. With events like this, the solutions can be found. We are always thankful for the hard work of Janice Chia and her team, bringing so many passionate people together.

Dr Tuire Karaharju-Huisman
Physiotherapist, Accredited Exercise Physiologist (ESSAM), PhD (Biomechanics)
Research Lead, Area Account Manager (Vic, Tas, SA)