The significant investment will be matched by innovAGEING founders and aged care industry peak body Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) as they aim to facilitate, promote and celebrate innovation in the growing sector.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of LASA Sean Rooney says the government’s financial support of the new initiative will help ensure the age services industry is forward-thinking, high-performing and consumer-centric, bringing to market new products, services and delivery models that will meet the individual needs of older Australians and their families.
He adds that this embrace of innovation in aged care will further enable older Australians to retain their independence, giving them choice and control over the care, support and services they need and deserve, noting that a national and collaborative approach is necessary to make it happen.
“Our ageing population presents an innovation imperative for the age services industry,” Mr Rooney says.
“We need to accelerate innovation and collaboration in our industry to translate ideas into action, resulting in better outcomes for older Australians.”
Mr Rooney also highlighted the impact innovAGEING aims to have in supporting the industry to leverage fresh thinking and the latest technology to provide real and lasting benefits for older Australians, and congratulated the Government’s decision to make this commitment.
As well as building a network, innovAGEING will also run a number of other initiatives including:
A national awards program to encourage and reward innovation
Twice-yearly national Aged Care Open innovations Lab workshops
Eight innovator speaker events across the country each year
An eight-week innovation program for establishing businesses and start-ups to solve aged care industry problems, culminating in a business plan competition
An online network actively linking participants with experts and business development coaches
Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt, who represented the Australian Government at the official announcement and launch, reiterated the important role of innovation and technology in the aged care industry, adding that innovAGEING was a will help to establish a national network, bringing together “progressive thinkers and practitioners”.
“While technology will never supplant the need for personal, people-centred services, we know it can complement care and take safety and efficiency to new heights,” Minister Wyatt explains.
“With predictions Australia will need almost one million aged care staff by 2050, growth and innovation in this sector are fundamentally linked.”
The announcement of the funding support and official launch of innovAGEING was held at the Australian Capital Territory’s Kangara Waters community and aged care centre, the site where one of the most recent aged care innovations - the IRT Group Driverless Car, also known as Pod Zero, will be trialled with residents over the next six months.