A Study on Aging Society by Thammasat University

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Aging Society is one of the Mega Trends in the world, stemming from medical advancement that prolongs peoples’ lives. Our lifespan has increased significantly, from an average of 80 years to 90-100 years. However, the essential question for the aging society is not about the lifespan, it is not about when old people will be going to die. It is about “How are they going to live?”. To answer this question and prepare Thailand for the inevitable aging society, Ageing Business & Care Development Centre: ABCD holds Thailand Ageing Strategic Forum 2019 on 25th September 2019 at the Thai Health Promotion Foundation.

In the past few years, Thailand becomes more interested in the Silver Economy or the Senior market, and the market has been rapidly growing. In 2016, the health and wellness product market value is estimated to be around 3,500 million baht, but it turns out to be 7,000 million baht in 2018 and exceeds 1 billion baht in 2019. The rocketing market value grows beyond any expectation and it is believed to keep growing in the future.

Business Times, the leading provider of business and financial news expected the Asia-Pacific health and wellness market value to grow up to 3.3 trillion USD (100 trillion baht) by 2020. The growth of the health and wellness market is not only the result of the rising of Aging society trend but also the result of the health trend in general. Nowadays people start taking care of there health at a younger age especially people in the working-age with the spending power.

Health and wellness market is not the only one rising, products in our daily life and lifestyle or even the real estate market also aim for older demographic, by marketing to people who want to have a place for an enjoyable retirement.

In all the markets and trends, technology for an aging society is another interesting trend. A study from Thammasat University suggests that a newer generation of start-up associated the elderly with these four trends:

  1. Technology familiarity- Nowadays, older people are not all technologically challenged. Technology is spreading and reaching more and more people. As it becomes a prominent part of our society, to see an 80-year-old using an online chat program like Line is completely normal. So, it is important to ask the question of “What is the technology that the elderly will use daily?”
  2. IT and AI advancement- Technology is developing at a groundbreaking pace, currently, it can respond to almost all of mankind’s demands. It is capable of things it has never done, and sometimes it even surpasses our ability. The medical and healthcare industry is a very good example. These days, a computer can diagnose patients and analyze x-rays results. These abilities are what we expected from a high-performance processing system. We should focus on finding the technology that can enhance our well being and the one that can improve the quality of life of elderly people.
  3. Data collection- The increase in usage of technology help us gather the large and diverse sets of information, so-called Big Data. These sets of information will help us create a better service or precisely improve the current one. It is important to think about the information we had available and that we will soon have in the future, and how they can help us take better care of both ourselves and the elderly.
  4. New career opportunities- Generating income at the age of retirement can be a challenge. There are many people in their retirement without enough retirement funds and financial support. They often have to work despite their unfit health conditions. Technology can have a significant role in solving this problem. There are new career opportunities that come with technological advancement. So, we can use technology to generate new career opportunities that suit the older generation’s conditions and experiences. This way they can generate their income by working on the right job.

Career and income are among the most important subjects when it comes to retirement. In this fast-paced world, knowledge is not something permanently set in stone anymore. There is always newer information coming in overridden the knowledge we have previously known. This is why the university should stop focusing on training just people aged 18-22. It is essential to promote the idea of Lifelong Learning, for everyone to learn anywhere and anytime. Thammasat University strongly supports lifelong learning concept by creating a learning platform called Gen Next Academy, allowing graduate students, people in the workforce, or even the older generation to learn for the rest of their lives. Gen Next Academy also allows people to collect the credits and even turn them to university degrees.

The information mentioned above are summarized from Aging society research by Aging Business & Care Development Centre: ABCD

Aging Business & Care Development Centre: ABCD is a platform for researchers focusing on the elderly from 12 faculties to work together. The researchers in ABCD aims to produce policy research tackling aging society for both public and private sectors and come up with innovation use in taking care of the elderly and ensuring their best quality of life with integrity as well as happiness.

ABCD center established as a joint effort between Faculty of Commerce and Accountancy, Thammasat University, Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Thammasat researchers for the elderly network.

The full version of the research will soon be available at [email protected] or at the ERIA website.