On frontier of change for the better

‘locally relevant and globally significant’

 Editor-in-chief of Better Homes and Gardens Julia Zaetta with Global Centre for Modern Ageing chair Raymond Spencer.

Editor-in-chief of Better Homes and Gardens Julia Zaetta with Global Centre for Modern Ageing chair Raymond Spencer.

 Managing Director IBM Watson Health Asia Terry Sweeney

Managing Director IBM Watson Health Asia Terry Sweeney

Business leaders have welcomed the establishment of the Global Centre for Modern Ageing as being at the forefront of positive change that is locally relevant and globally significant.

It’s time to shine a spotlight on the dynamic lives of the Boomers and older Australians, said Julia Zaetta, editor-in-chief of Better Homes and Gardens.

“What we want is for this generation to be shown the way this generation feels inside but is not seen from the outside,” she said at the launch of the Centre.

“I’m absolutely thrilled and excited about the Global Centre for Modern Ageing and the opportunity to work collaboratively on nation-leading initiatives.

“For too long in the media, we’ve been obsessed with the younger generation – how do we captivate them, how do we capture them.

“I want these people (Boomers) to be seen for what’s inside their heads and not how we currently perceive them because it is such an exciting, wonderful generation.”

Terry Sweeney, Managing Director IBM Watson Health Asia, said he travels extensively in the region working on health systems and technology – including innovations for an older population.;

“I work all over the world, helping our clients and partners drive innovation in this field,  and I haven’t seen anything quite like the Global Centre for Modern Ageing here in Adelaide,” he said.

“So, I congratulate Julianne Parkinson, Raymond Spencer and the team – backed by the South Australian Government – on such a wonderful initiative, which I think stands out on the global stage.”

Dr Sweeney said the Global Centre for Modern Ageing was well positioned to “develop solutions and capabilities for an ageing population that are locally relevant and globally significant”.

Dr Sweeney said increased longevity was a tremendous achievement but a phenomenon throwing up challenges.

“More and more of us will live alone,” he said.

“We’ll be healthy enough to live in our own homes, but face daily risks and challenges from accidents, diseases such as Alzheimer’s, and from social exclusion.”

The issues were global and not confined to Australia.

“For the first time in history, China has more people over the age of 60 than under the age of 30,” he said.

Simultaneously with demographic change, there is an accelerating accumulation of data, including about individuals’ health and well-being.

“Over 90 per cent of the all of the information that exists in the world today was only generated in the last two years,” he said.

Ways to tap into that data and get meaningful insights was improving rapidly.

“IBM Watson – which is our augmented intelligence system – can read billions of pages of unstructured text per minute,” he said. "Gaining meaningful insights from all of this information is key to driving better outcomes for our ageing populations."

“We’ve moved into a brand new era of technology.”

Robotics and neurobionics are also delivering major improvements to the lives of older people.