|Connected health in Asia
Earlier this year I spent ten weeks in Singapore and Tokyo, leading research, strategy and prototyping for a connected health product intended for aging populations. Here’s a little of what still resonates from that time.
Raise the age. The native Japanese population is falling by 300,000 people per year, with the decline set to accelerate. Mr. Abe suggests he wants to use the next three years to address the fiscal problems by Japan’s rapid aging population. Workers in Japan are preparing to retire later than anywhere else in the world.
Old and alone. She had been lonely every day for the past quarter of a century, she said, ever since her daughter and husband had died of cancer, three months apart. Mrs. Ito still had a stepdaughter, but they had grown apart over the decades, exchanging New Year’s cards or occasional greetings on holidays…so Mrs. Ito asked a neighbor in the opposite building for a favor. Could she, once a day, look across the greenery separating their apartments and gaze up at Mrs. Ito’s window? A generation in Japan faces a lonely death.
Close the gap. My friend Calvin Soh has converted his childhood home into a modern placemaking prototype. It’s become a top Airbnb experience in Singapore. “Who knows? Maybe One Kind House could be a prototype for the community centre of the future – where the elderly can keep busy with activities, and the young have an incubation lab of their own,” he says. Open house: at this one-of-a-kind home, the doors are always open.