The aging process of the Italian population continues: over 65 population already makes up 24.1% of the total population
ISTAT certifies an increase in the average age of the population from 45.7 to 46.4 years between the beginning of 2020 and the beginning of 2023.
The over 65 population already makes up 24.1% of the total population, and people over 80 have come to represent 7.7% of the total population. On the contrary, both individuals of working age (63.4%) and younger people (12.5%) are decreasing.
These few numbers are telling, alongside an aging population, of a profound change in social and family dynamics that can lead to conditions of loneliness.
Loneliness and social isolation are significant issues that affect the welfare and health of older adults.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), social isolation and loneliness are important, yet neglected, social determinants of the health of older people. This is a challenge for public health and policies for all the western countries as well as for Japan and China.
Research shows that social isolation and loneliness have a serious impact on older people’s physical and mental health, quality of life, and their longevity. In fact, the effect of social isolation and loneliness on mortality is comparable to that of other well-established risk factors such as smoking, obesity and physical inactivity.
Worldwide, Europe (28%) and the United States (27%) have the largest share of the over-60 population living alone (Pew Research Center). In Italy, according to ISTAT, half of the people living alone, or more than 4.2 million, are over 65, growing over the next 15 years to about 6 million.
Social isolation and loneliness also present an opportunity for innovation
Tackling loneliness and isolation are triggers for solutions to promote sociality among the elderly population, which translates into opportunities for innovation on several levels: technological, social and organizational. The creation of more elder-friendly active communities, better access to transportation, wider dissemination of information and communication technologies, and new housing models can help to improve individuals’ psycho-physical health, well-being, quality of life (e.g. social inclusion conditions) and optimize opportunities at both individual and societal levels. Thus reducing social isolation and loneliness.
The huge potential of innovation for the Silver Economy market
Silver Economy is the sector of products and services targeted at the over 50 population, which is estimated to reach 5.7 trillion euro in value, equal to a third of Europe’s GDP, by 2025.
The trend for an increasing expenditure is clearly connected to ageing in all OECD countries. For the US this kind of spending is estimated in more than 700 billion dollars out for 4.1 trillion dollars of global health expenditure. Such expenditure is going to increase mainly because of demography and comorbidity.
Ageing is a natural process, a phase of life that leads to a progressive modification and reduction of certain functions and capacities, with cognitive, emotional, sensory and motor repercussions. Add to these, changes in the habits of daily life can bring loneliness feeling, particularly when self-sufficiency begins to be lacking and vulnerability increases.
Compensating the feeling of loneliness is a growing need in represent a business opportunity but can also help to ensure the sustainability of the
national care system with technology that is changing and revolutionising the way people relate to each other.
In this areas of application, innovation and startups, along with policies that address marginalization and discrimination, are a key to provide answers to the needs of the elderly population, which feels the burden of loneliness the most, by developing products and services to contrast this feeling by fostering greater social connectedness and a more active life.
In 2013, the European Commission defined “Social Innovation” as any new idea (including products, services and models that simultaneously meet social needs more effectively than alternatives) that creates new social relationships or collaborations, positive for society and improves society’s ability to act.
Silver Economy Meets Innovation: Aging Better, Together. Strategies and startups to tackle loneliness” is the report specifically dedicated to innovation in the Silver Economy, produced by AC75 Startup Accelerator consistent with its commitment to spreading the culture of the Silver Economy and building the innovation ecosystem in this sector.
The report is an analysis of the needs related to loneliness of the elderly population and solutions to tackle it and promote sociality, accompanied by case studies of startups working in this area, trends and innovation strategies told by Next Age program partners: Intesa Sanpaolo, Amplifon (main partner), IRCCS INRCA (National Institute for Hospitalization and Care for the Elderly) , UK-NICA, (UK National Innovation Centre for Ageing), Università Politecnica delle Marche, Silver Economy Network and AC75 SA.
Next Age is the first acceleration program in Europe investing in Silver Economy startups, created at the initiative of CDP Venture Capital in collaboration with AC75 SA and part of the National Accelerators Network of CDP Venture Capital.
You can learn more of AC75 SA activities visiting the following website: ac75sa.com
Check out the report on Innovation in the Silver Economy
Fill out the form to download the report