The paper looks at the changing facts of ageing as both a challenge and an opportunity. The focus is in particular on the many ways in which societies are innovating better ways of living longer, better ways of providing support and exploring the role that social innovation can play in ageing societies. No society has yet ‘solved’ the challenges of ageing, and no past societies have provided comprehensive models to copy. Instead we have no choice but to innovate, experiment and learn fast. The paper surveys many dozens of examples of innovation from across the world, including:
New ways for older people to remain active, as volunteers or in providing mutual support
New models of service delivery and care that contribute to greater independence
New environments that can improve everyday life
New ways of mobilising trusted networks to provide support of all kinds
There are rich examples of innovation in all of these fields, many combining technologies and service design, new models of housing and models of care, formal support and informal support.