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Assistive technology market expected to soar in coming years

With added emphasis on providing tools to maintain a certain level of independence, an increasingly ageing population offers the promise of a robust economic future for elderly and disabled assistance devices. 

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Assistive technology market expected to soar in coming years

With added emphasis on providing tools to maintain a certain level of independence, an increasingly ageing population offers the promise of a robust economic future for elderly and disabled assistance devices. 

According to Transparency Market Research, the global value of the sector may touch £13 billion by 2019.

The report found the global elderly and disabled assistive devices market was valued at just over £8 billion in 2012, but it is predicted to jump over the next four years. The most obvious driver for the increase is a global ageing population.

In addition to the larger populations, many governments around the world are also increasing their budgets made available for long-term care. Some of the products that are driving the marketplace forward are cutting-edge, new products including powered wheelchairs, customisable stairlift technology, sensor-based door openers, and portable assistance machines.

The report segments the elderly and disabled assistive devices market on the basis of type, product, and geography. In terms of geography, researchers looked at Europe, North America, Asia Pacific, and the rest of the world. Based on the figures from 2012, North America has the largest share in the elderly and disabled assistive devices market. However, Asia Pacific is expected to experience the highest growth rate due to its expected jump in elderly population and available, disposable income.

But despite the expected financial growth within the sector, in the UK, elderly care and support is facing a difficult future with a noticeable lack of trained carers available or willing to work to assist the ageing population.

Ben Franklin, head of economics of Ageing at ILC-UK recently said to the Telegraph that the elderly care sector must attract more workers.

“This will require a substantive shift in the direction of policy as well as a change in public perceptions about what working in care is like,” he said. “This can only be bad news for the older people who rely on these services to carry out basic tasks like eating and dressing.”

Simon Bottery from Independent Age agrees with Franklin.

“The alternative will be a degradation in the quality of care and an increasing reliance on family carers,” Bottery said. “If this is the future, it will have dire implications for those needing care, their family members and the wider economy.”

Image Credit: Iman Mosaad (flickr.com)

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