Old age, loneliness, declining birth rate. Europe is whitening and, in particular, Italy is one of the oldest countries in the world, second only to Japan. Reasoning how to improve the quality of life during the third and fourth age, therefore, is an essential priority: for this reason, CNA Emilia-Romagna, on Friday 23th June, organized the first stakeholder meeting of the European project NOTRE, of which it is a partner with the Emilia Romagna region. The project aims to stimulate the improvement of regional policies in support of innovation for the care of the elderly. The project envisages a four-year development and implementation time and will therefore end in 2027, and it is co-financed by the Interreg Europe fund.
The roundtable with the stakeholders
For the occasion, CNA Emilia-Romagna organized and coordinated a round table bringing together the main stakeholders of the regional territory in the field of the elderly and innovation: institutions, third sector realities, development and research centres, healthcare. The aim is to establish a permanent ecosystem aimed at the development of new highly digitized products and services for the assistance of the elderly.
At the round table there were present: the Head of the Department of Industrial Policies of CNA Emilia Romagna, Marcella Contini, the director of the Unioncamere Study Center Guido Caselli, the head of the sustainable innovation sector, companies and production chains of the Emilia-Romagna Region Roberto Ricci Mingani, the official of the Emilia-Romagna Romagna Raffaella Gentile, the president of the association for the fight against cerebral stroke A.L.I.Ce Daniela Toschi, Caterina Praderio of the “Controtempo” project for Parkinson’s patients, Irene Sartorelli and Fabio Ferretti of the National Dance Foundation – Aterballetto, Francesco Santoro of MISTER laboratory of the Bologna Technopole, Roberta Piccinini and Stefania Gamberini of CNA production Emilia-Romagna, Elisa Muratori, CNA communication and tertiary sector Emilia-Romagna, the president of CNA retirees Emilia-Romagna, Salvatore Cavini, the president of CNA professions Emilia-Romagna Paola Scalzotto.
Aging and new entrepreneurial opportunities
In the next future, the risk is that of greater loneliness, fragility and lack of young people who can meet the needs of the elderly population: «In Italy today there are 178 elderly people for every 100 children. In 2040, on the other hand, there will be 270 elderly people for every 100 children», explains the director of the Unioncamere Caselli Study Centre. This aging of the population translates, in companies, into a “generational turnover at risk”. We analyzed the data of 106,000 artisan companies and as many as 11% of these have workers with an average age of over 65», continues Caselli.
Despite these critical issues, from a careful analysis of the current socio-economic context and that of the coming years, it can be seen that there are also opportunities that must be seized. “The activities on which we must focus and which are growing strongly are the professional figures linked to the world of digital, sustainability and people”, underlines the director of the Unioncamere Study Centre. Therefore, thanks to the digital revolution, new entrepreneurial realities are also opening up, all to be exploited. If it is true that the development of artificial intelligence technologies will lead to the replacement and disappearance of some jobs, it is also true – however – that the jobs at high risk in 2035 are 11.9%.
Companies and social sustainability
«Today businesses must also have a positive impact on society – says Ricci Mingani, head of the sustainable innovation sector, businesses and production chains of the Emilia-Romagna Region – NOTRE is an important project that is part of the strategy of the European structural funds whose spotlights are focused on social sustainability. Sometimes companies find it difficult to translate social responsibility into concrete projects», hence the commitment of the Region to guide SMEs in building a society that is more attentive also to the most fragile people.
Case History: physiotherapy at your fingertips
An example that summarizes the innovative thrust and the construction of a more equitable society, cornerstones of the NOTRE project and of European policies in general, and which also takes into account the essential objective of economic return, is the innovative enterprise of Roberta Piccinini, national vice president of CNA Production Union and national spokesperson for mechanics. mHealth Technologies, in fact, deals with solutions for monitoring, evaluation and physical rehabilitation through the use of sensors to be worn by the patient, via mobile phone app. It was created as a start-up in July 2014, following national and international research into movement disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease.
«We have created a system which, installed on a smartphone, uses sensors to evaluate, for example, walking, posture, etc. All the parameters collected are then communicated to the doctor for diagnosis and therapy», explains the entrepreneur Piccinini. In practice, a digital physiotherapist is available as often as needed, with a reduction in therapy costs and, therefore, the possibility of extending the duration of treatment on the same budget. «We respond to the needs of an aging population with frailties, including motor disabilities. Our devices provide useful results for clinicians and effective feedback for patients who thus become more involved in health management, playing an active role. The ambitious goal of mHT is to take healthcare out of the hospital and integrate it into people’s lives. In the States, they are very hungry for these new technologies and tools to be used in the care of people. In Italy it is much more difficult, but I believe that companies must aim at innovation at 360°», concludes Piccinini.
The president of the association for the fight against cerebral stroke A.L.I.Ce Daniela Toschi underlines the need to work closely and in synergy because opportunities can arise from difficulties. This is precisely the spirit of the NOTRE project. CNA, the Emilia-Romagna Region, businesses and third sector realities can, by joining forces, achieve the ambitious goal of a more just society where welfare, culture and entrepreneurial innovation are potentialities expressed at the highest level.