Elderly and Disabled Assistive Devices – Evolving from Luxury to Necessity
Assistive devices and technologies minimize individual’s dependence on others and helps improve quality of life. Devices such as wheelchairs, visual aids, hearings aids, and specialized computer software and hardware system aids in enhancing hearing, vision, mobility, or communication of the elderly and disabled people. According to an article published in the Assistive Technology Blog (ATB) in September 2016, there are approximately 7.7 million new cases of dementia reported each year. The number of people suffering from dementia is expected to increase to 135.5 million by 2050. Devices such as clocks and reminders, fall detectors, activity monitors, intercom, and computer aids assist patients suffering from dementia.
The global elderly and disabled assistive devices market was valued at US$ 14,109.1 million in 2015 and is expected to expand at a CAGR of 7.4% during the forecast period (2016 – 2024).
Figure 1. Global Elderly and Disabled Assistive Devices Market Size and Forecast, US$ Million and Y-o-Y Growth (%), 2014–2024
Source: Coherent Market Insights Analysis (2017)
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Increasing aging population supporting growth of the elderly and disabled assistive devices market
Geriatric population people aged 65 years and above, is expected to increase from 8.5% of the global population in 2015 to 12% in 2030, as per the report ‘An Aging World: 2015’ by the U.S. Census Bureau. Asia and Latin America are the primary regions which are expected to experience rapidly aging population. The elderly and disabled assistive devices market is analyzed to have large market potential especially in Asia and Latin America.
Initiatives of government and independent agencies favorably shaping the elderly and disabled assistive devices market scenario
Only 5%–15% of the population in low and middle-income countries, who are in need of elderly and disabled assistive devices, have access to them, as per stats released by the World Health Organization (WHO). Therefore, WHO along with its collaborating centers is working towards improving accessibility of elderly and disabled assistive devices to better cater to the patient population. Few of this initiatives include:
- Organizing regional and country workshops, meetings, and seminars
- Creating a database on availability of appropriate assistive devices and technologies
- Developing normative guidelines
- Providing assistance for development of national policies and programs on assistive devices and technologies with a focus on human resource development
Furthermore, on the basis of discussion in the 66th World Health Assembly, held in 2013, WHO prepared a comprehensive global disability action plan for 2014 – 2021. Under this plan, WHO intends to improve access to health services and programs, extend rehabilitation, habilitation, assistive technology, assistance and support services, and support research on disability and related services. Such global initiatives are indirectly promoting adoption of assistive devices and are encouraging manufacturers to develop innovative elderly and disabled assistive devices.
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Regional players are intensifying the competition in the global elderly and disabled assistive devices market
The global elderly and disabled assistive devices market is extensively competitive attributed mainly to the entry of regional players offering low-cost products. This is influencing leading players such as Sonova Holding AG to increase their global presence through organic and inorganic strategies. Sonova Holding AG acquired AudioNova in September 2016, a Netherlands-based hearing aid manufacturer. This acquisition helped Sonova to strengthen its presence in Europe, by doubling the existing number of retails stores. Sonova Holding AG is implementing a vertically integrated business model by offering customized solutions to individual customers by expanding the number of retail stores. Similarly, other market leaders are anticipated to cement their distribution channels to capitalize on the global elderly and disabled assistive devices market potential.