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30% predicted increase in over-65s inspires Jersey to become £2m island testbed for health and care technologies

The Government of Jersey, through Impact Jersey, is awarding up to £2 million to technologies that can transform the lives of Jersey’s rapidly ageing population. The new CareTech Challenge is calling for tech-focused projects that can empower people to live well, live safely and live independently.

Jersey’s population is getting older. With that comes challenges that it must anticipate and address to ensure as many Islanders as possible live independently and with dignity within a community that cares about their wellbeing. Most developed economies are contending with the challenges of an ageing population. Jersey’s digital connectivity makes it the perfect testbed for life-enhancing technology.

The number of Islanders aged 65 and above is set to increase by 30% within 16 years (by 2040), including a 50% increase in the number of people living into their 80s and beyond. By the age of 65, over half of Jersey’s islanders live with one or more long-term health conditions; by the age of 85 the majority of people have two or more long-term health conditions.

Jersey measures just 45 square miles with a population of around 100,000 and offers all the components of a larger country but in a small, campus-like space. Jersey is one of the most digitally connected countries on the planet, and tops the worldwide broadband speed league table. All broadband connections in Jersey are gigabit Fibre to the Premises (FTTP). Jersey also benefits from three separate 4G networks, island-wide 5G launching this summer, and multiple dedicated Internet of Things (IoT) networks, making it the ideal testbed for companies looking to demonstrate the effectiveness of cutting-edge technologies.

Jersey’s Minister for Sustainable Economic Development, Deputy Kirsten Morel, said: “In the next decade, the number of people aged 65 or more will significantly increase, both in number and as a proportion of the population. We are addressing the challenges that this demographic shift will bring for the Island’s health and care systems now. As one of the world’s most digitally connected jurisdictions, Jersey is primed to seize the opportunities that new technologies offer our citizens, enabling Islanders to enjoy life and retain their independence for longer. The CareTech Challenge will help us achieve this goal.”

Tony Moretta, CEO, Digital Jersey, responsible for delivering Impact Jersey said: “We have the opportunity, right now in Jersey, to transform how we support health and care for our older citizens, delivering better outcomes for them by enabling new and scaling technologies that leverage cutting-edge advances. Not only will these solutions benefit Islanders, but Jersey can be the testbed for these technologies to support older people around the world. ”

The CareTech Challenge is calling on individuals, start-ups and established organisations to develop and deploy technologies and services that directly contribute to the health, independence and safety of Jersey’s ageing population, or benefits carers and the people they care for. Impact Jersey is actively encouraging and supporting international collaboration to bring the world’s best ideas to the island.

It is seeking technology-based approaches that aid older people to live safely in their own homes, help them to stay connected with their communities, and to support carers in their roles. The technologies must enhance the quality of life for Jersey’s older people and the people who care for them, to help them maintain good health and independence, and in turn reduce the demand on Jersey’s healthcare system.

Entries to the CareTech Challenge must be received by midnight on 30 August 2024.

http://www.impact.je