Monday, October 27, 2008

TIGO: a new national inter-institutional institute for research on aging.

We live in an aging world. Within the next decades in some countries over half of the population may be over 65 years of age, i.e. the age that for many years meant retirement.

Such an aging population faces us with many challenges, often related to health. Maybe the most striking and relevant examples are to do with the work force and health care costs. In order to maintain and ensure a large enough work force to maintain economic prosperity in an era of an aging population, people should be able to remain economically active until later age. To prevent skyrocketing costs for health care, elderly people should be encouraged to adopt and maintain healthy lifestyles to prevent or delay disease and disability to realise a further compression of morbidity in the latest phase in life. In order to enable elderly people to keep out of health care institutions as long as possible, health and care monitoring and facilitating devices such as domotics ( solutions should be developed and tested for their true effectiveness.

These are the challenges that will be met by TIGO (, the Dutch national research institute for healthy aging, in which most University Medical Centers in the Netherlands, important research and health care institutes such as TNO, NIVEL and TRIMBOS, as well as key R&D departments of multinationals such as Philips and Unilever have joined forces.

Today the business plan for TIGO was presented to Mrs. Jet Bussemaker, the Dutch secretary of state for health, welfare and sports ( during a symposium. After a series of short keynotes the secretary of state congratulated the TIGO founders with their initiative and confirmed that the TIGO plans fitted well with her own ambitions to improve prevention and care for the elderly.