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New Days:
What Is the Future of Aging?

What if we never left the labor market, but continuously adapted our work life to our life situation and dreams? The future demographic of our population calls for radical solutions for our welfare system and views on aging

This project is a part of our theme
Social transition

What if… 

… We never left the labor market, but continuously adapted our work life to our life situation and dreams?

… The future welfare society was a showdown with our “right to” choose from a benefit catalog and to a greater extent a question of the individual needs?

… We changed the focus of providing homogeneous services and instead started talking about the impact of the effort?

These are some of the questions we are curious to explore with the project.

Often, our idea about the future is based on the assumptions that growth and societal development continue as we know it. But looking back 50 years, technological, demographic, and political developments have been anything but linear. 

So, how will the concept of aging change over the next three decades; What will the future of elderly life look like? Can we insist on more value? Will the elderly generations to come be a necessary and strong resource we must prioritize and invest in?

The Challenge: How do we live longer, valuable lives?

In the decades to come, we’ll see an increase among the elderly population. By the year 2060, the population group over the age of 66 will  amount to up to 30 percent of Danish citizens. 

→ The demographic development and the increasing number of elderly mean that the welfare services we have today need to significantly change. 

The changing composition of the population will not only have an impact on the elderly sector but also on health expenses and capacity, and our well-being and mental health. 

→ Based on these demographic changes, skilled labor in the health and care sector will be in short supply.

Simultaneously, getting older does not mean the same as it did before. Compared to previous generations, the general Danish citizen now lives longer and healthier lives. Today, we have a different view on health than 20 years ago, our access to knowledge, services, and products is far greater. 

→ The elderly of the future will not necessarily demand or need the same type of care and service that we know today.

“Over the past century, we’ve created the greatest gift in the history of humanity — thirty extra years of life — and we don’t know what to do with it!”

Joseph Coughlin

Founder, AgeLab

The Approach: A new perspective from the future

The goal of the project is to contribute with new perspectives and solutions for how elders live – and how the system around them handles and treats them. 

→ Using scenario-based design, we’ll develop scenarios that are so specific in their shape and content that they’ll be used as a framework for debates, political dialogues, and innovative development processes.

→ The scenarios are the starting point for initiating experiments that’ll release the potentials that the scenarios point to. This method provides us and our partners with completely new solutions and puts the lives of our elders on the agenda.

We want to help strengthen future awareness, and to launch concrete experiments that will provide input to solve the challenges of the future.

Our partners will continuously work with the scenarios to explore and initiate local experiments in their municipalities. 

Concurrently, the Policy Life Lab will be launched. The Lab focuses on the structures and decision-making forces that exist in the political arena. The experience from the experiments is carried into the Lab to ensure a connection between the decision-making level and the new solutions at the operational level. This guarantees change at a strategic political level and an operational and practical level. That’s essential to secure change and real transformation through the initiative’s efforts.

About the project

New Days is an experimental, concrete, and co-creative initiative, with a vision about acting on the future. Future scenarios are used to discover new markets, develop new approaches, and create future health solutions together. We start today.

Danish Design Center, Danish Life Science Cluster, and Mandag Morgen have taken the initiative to gather an ambitious partner group consisting of Copenhagen Municipality, The Region of Southern Denmark, Aarhus Municipality, Aalborg Municipality, and Gladsaxe Municipality. Together with both public and private actors, we have joined forces to create a visionary collaboration, exploring the future of elderly life through design thinking and scenario design.

The project is financed financed by: Københavns Kommune, Aalborg Kommune, Region Syddanmark, Aarhus Kommune, Gladsaxe Kommune, and facilitated by us.

Anders Erlendsson

Mission Director

Phone +45 2870 4952
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