The PRAXIS Nexus The PRAXIS Nexus

Dispatch from the Field: The Aging 2.0 Conference

Posted on October 27, 2016   |   
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Deb McGowan

This post was written by Deb McGowan, the COPD Foundation’s Vice President of Population Health & Care Delivery.

Earlier this month, I had the honor to speak at the Aging 2.0 conference in San Francisco, CA. As we all know, there is a growing population of aging adults in the US. More than 100 million Americans are 50 years and older—the majority are 65 and older. This three-day conference aimed to accelerate technology to improve the lives of our aging population. Given that elders and those with chronic diseases share many of the same challenges and needs, this was a perfect environment to both learn from others and share our community’s experiences.

Part of the discussion at the Aging 2.0 event was about how we can enable individuals with chronic diseases to stay safely in their homes and support their needs around socialization, caregiving, mobility, new therapies, and appropriate resources. As a Baby Boomer like many of you, I want to be empowered with information, education, and support. I want to be able to track my health data and have easy access to my healthcare team in my home between those office visits. I want to be part of that team and be confident I can participate in making my personal healthcare decisions. The Aging 2.0 participants I spoke with shared this vision and are working toward these ends, just as we at the Foundation are.

As part of my time there, I was also able to share specific parts of our Foundation community with the people I met. It was an honor to show them the COPD360social and PRAXIS platforms and how we are all sharing vital education, socialization, and support with each other. I told them about our C.O.P.D. Information Line, where individuals with COPD and the people who care for them connect with hundreds of others just like them, to show them support, direct them to resources and help them understand their disease. Most felt both COPD360Social and the Info Line were true models of what can be accomplished to help elders that identify isolation as a very important issue.

COPD Crowdshaped

I also shared the work that was accomplished in last year’s COPD Crowd Shaped, the Foundation’s two-day collaborative, creative thinking event held in June 2015. The work from that incredible session continues. Several collaborations began at that event; we have continued to explore together some of the key barriers that our community faces and how we can use technology to address and minimize them. In San Francisco, I was among others that recognized that technology – whether it be telehealth, ride sharing, or even robotics! – has vast opportunities for seniors and other subpopulations, like those with chronic diseases.

I left this event feeling even more inspired about our place in this work and our community’s potential impact for the aging population. It was clear that we can be a leader to collaborate with others on the needs of the chronically ill. The Foundation has great potential to be a leader and with our committed population of people with COPD, family members, and invested healthcare providers, to help with developing and testing other patient-powered solutions and technology. Thank you for being a part of this with us.

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