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Central Coast Living Lab promotes healthy ageing at home

A collaborative workshop has marked the launch of the first Central Coast Health & Wellbeing Living Lab – an innovative, real-life experimentation hub designed to support healthy ageing at home for generations to come.

The Living Lab, a collaboration between Central Coast Local Health District (CCLHD) and the University of Newcastle, will see older people work alongside academic institutions, healthcare and aged-care providers, and businesses to identify challenges, needs and practical solutions to enhance their lives at home.

CCLHD Chief Executive Scott McLachlan said the Living Lab will offer solutions for holistic care and smart technology solutions that will support healthy ageing for generations to come.

“We are committed to providing health care that helps our older people to live happy, healthy and long lives on the Central Coast, in their own communities and homes,” Mr McLachlan said.

“The Central Coast has one of the largest populations of older people in NSW, with more than one quarter of residents aged 60 or over. As our population ages, there is a pressing need to deliver innovative health solutions that help people maintain satisfying lives at home and support choice.”

Living labs are real-life experimentation hubs that see community members and stakeholders from a range of professions and lived experiences work together to identify challenges faced by older people and develop practical solutions.

Older people from the Central Coast community will provide real-time insight into challenges they face, from feeling connected to their communities to accessing healthcare, maintaining independence and preventative solutions for maintaining good physical and mental health.

University of Newcastle Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alex Zelinsky AO, said the Central Coast’s focus on integrated healthcare makes it the ideal location to test solutions that help residents live satisfying, engaged and independent lives at home.

“What makes a Living Lab unique is that it puts the end-users in this case, older people, at the centre of the process, from defining challenges to working together on possible solutions and it takes place in real-life communities and settings,” Professor Zelinsky said.

“The Central Coast Health & Wellbeing Living Lab will include a range of activities, from brainstorming sessions to community workshops to opportunities for local businesses and entrepreneurs to showcase and pitch ideas.

This dynamic approach creates a new way to explore the challenges encountered by older individuals who want to live at home and presents an opportunity to co-create innovative solutions developed with and for our older citizens.”

The Central Coast Health & Wellbeing Living Lab will be based at the Central Coast Research Institute at Gosford’s Health and Education Precinct, with funding from Investment NSW.

It will test and deliver solutions to four core challenges our older people face: community connectivity, technology-enabled homes, care at home and preventative technology.

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