28 January 2013 The older we get the smarter we'll be

Not only is the Australian population likely to hit 30 million, but insurance company Apia says the average lifespan will exceed 100 years.

Apia, which specialises in insurance for seniors, assembled a panel of experts in May 2012 to review the trends and technologies likely to shape the future. Their report ‘The Future of Over 50s’ concluded, among other things, that  being 50 in the year 2042  will mean the average Australian is  less than halfway through life. Medical, scientific and technological advancements will have extended the average lifespan to more than 100 years.

Apia's report, finds that the Australian  home of the future will likely be much "smarter'' - completely wired to adapt to our needs with smart-glass, moving walls and built-in sensors. They will also be smaller, mostly single-level buildings with flexible, multi-use spaces.

"Think of the home of the future as a personal assistant that helps you stay healthy, happy and organised, says Apia spokesman David Skapinker.

"If you think the technology we have today is impressive, you haven't seen anything yet.
"The future is going to be full of adults who won't be able to remember a time without touchscreen phones and tablet computers.

"You're going to start to see technology like live video streaming and conferencing integrated in to windows, table tops and other surfaces.''

As part of the study, Apia commissioned one of Australia's leading aged-care architects to design what the home of 2042 would look like for an ageing population.

Architect Guy Luscombe, head of aged design at Rice Daubney, says future homes will do more with less.

"Smarter design, building methods, materials and technology will not only make our homes more sustainable but more flexible and able to adapt to our changing needs,'' he says. "We will be living more densely but we will be closer to the things we need and like.''

Key aspects of this future housing will be total integration of technology, multipurpose designs to incorporate both work and living and, gardens that play a vital role in quality of life. Smart homes are expected to take instructions from your health care team, making sure you get the exercise, food and medication you need when you need it.

The report notes that suburbia will be transformed. Properties will share common facilities with neighbours and use design concepts to help people stay in their homes longer.

Reproduced in part with permission: News Limited Network, The older we get the smarter we'll be, 26 January 2013.

See also: APIA The Future of Over 50s (This link will open a PDF document. PDF - 489 KB).

Attention: This article is intended to provide general information only. Every attempt has been made to ensure the accuracy of this information at the date of publication. The opinions expressed in this article do not reflect those of DHA, its staff or agents. Property prices are subject to fluctuation. Prospective investors should seek independent advice. DHA will not be liable for any loss, damage, cost or expenses incurred or arising by reason of any person relying on information in this article.