How to meet aging challenges with social innovation?

Given the inherent characteristics of social innovation as an emerging subject, it is necessary to leverage the power of social innovation on elderly services as life expectancy increases, as well as the aging population, along with the challenges and demands. According to the United Nations (2009), the estimated aging rate is 2.6% per year, this trend of aging brings tremendous changes in society. At the same time, so many countries are struggling to manage the increasing number of service requirements for the elderly. Improving elders’ lifestyle quality and increasing the benefits of relevant stakeholders, as well as the public policies that are the cornerstone of social security of many governments.

Elderly services and social innovation

According to the United Nations (2019), there were 703 million people aged 65 years or over in the world in 2019. The number of older people is projected to double to 1.5 billion in 2050. Globally, the share of the population aged 65 years or over increased from 6 percent in 1990 to 9 percent in 2019. The elderly live longer and healthier, and elderly services or eldercare has been shifted dramatically due to demographic change and those services or policies could have fundamental impacts on society as well. Researchers have anticipated those changes and are studying how to meet these upcoming challenges.

There are three major areas of elder services and social innovation:

  • (1) Definition and framework. Faridah and Faïz (2006) have proposed a definition of care services for the elderly that draws on the economics of services and provides a simple framework for analyzing innovation in terms of economic categories. Later in 2016, Katrien and Paul made an explicit point of innovation in the elderly care sector and developed a framework to capture innovation and explain the capacity for innovation in the elderly care sector.
  • (2) Innovation strategy in elderly care services. Davies and Ferlie developed measures of efficiency as early as 1982, and then produced scores to measure. They concluded that the most successful approach to the study of the improvement of efficiency through innovation sees such behavior as largely motivated by the search for external finance. Beate, Endre and Joseph (2016) highlighted that innovation strategies in formal innovation training, workforce recruitment, and knowledge-sharing networks between communities are the current strategic direction based on the eldercare theory.
  • (3) Innovation case study. Researchers used elderly services as a case to find out how innovation is formed and what factors contribute to the success or failure of innovation, the key point here is the relationship between practice-based and human-centric approaches. Ali and Anna (2012) used the case of elderly home care and delivery to suggest that creative action emerges in our bodily expressive-responsive skillful coping mode. The same as Lars Fuglsang (2019), discussed how human-centric service innovation integrates with co-production in public services, defining how a practice-based model treats knowledge and learning, and the advantages of the practice-based model from a managerial, an employee, and a societal perspective.

Public sector innovation is hard, and social innovation provides a specific window of opportunity for future elderly wellbeing and welfare, utilizing innovative interventions. Given that innovations create social value, especially social innovation (Robert and Luis, 2016).


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Originally published at on February 16, 2022.



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