Planning Necessary For State’s Aging Population

Direct from Donovan …Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz

According to the Executive Office on Aging (EOA), between 1980 and 2010, the senior population in Hawaii increased by 140 percent, while the total population only grew by 34 percent.

Hawaii’s older adult population (60-plus) continues to increase, and demographic studies have shown that Hawaii’s elderly population is growing at a significantly faster pace than that of the rest of the nation.

The number of adults age 85 or older nationwide grew 432 percent during the same 30-year period. By 2030, one in five individuals will be age 65 or older, and by 2035, the older population (projected to be 474,586 individuals, age 60 or older) will represent 30 percent of the state’s total population.

This increase is, in part, because of lower mortality rates, advances in the medical field and decreased birth rates.

Recognizing this trend, there is a demand for technology and products to assist our kupuna in leading healthy, active lives.

In order to meet the needs of this group, more technology and innovations are necessary to develop new health care facilities, services and products.

What products can we develop or activities can we provide so they can continue to live independently?

Last session I introduced the following measures to spur work on developing the research and development component for our state’s aging population:

SB2399: Authorizing High Technology Development Corporation (HTDC) to create a geriatric research and technology park.

SCR108 and SR 54: Requesting HTDC, EOA and Wahiawa General Hospital form a working group to establish a geriatric research and technology park in Central Oahu.

HTDC is looking to develop a research and development technology park in Central Oahu at Wahiawa General Hospital, or in close proximity, that focuses on the state’s aging population.

The official name of this tech park is Pacific Technology Institute on Aging, and it will include technology development to support the many aspects of the aging population.

Through research, advancements in disease treatment, biochemical engineering, personal assistive devices, epidemiology and the social aspects related to working with the aged, as well as tech companies related to geriatric research, and development and disability-related tech firms, we hope to battle this issue.

HTDC recently released a Request for Proposals and is looking for a company that can develop a business plan for a geriatric, disability, and research-and-development technology park. The hope is to get started on the project in May.

Working with HTDC, we are making progress on bringing this tech park to fruition.

Contact Sen. Dela Cruz at 586-6090 or email