Opportunities in Our Aging Population – Invest Medicine Hat

Opportunities in Our Aging Population

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Our op-ed in May’s Business Beat: As Medicine Hat’s senior population continues to grow local companies will no doubt continue to grow along with it.

It is a point of local pride that Medicine Hat is Canada’s Sunniest City, with about 330 days of sunshine ever year. The winter months are more bearable than our cold prairie neighbours, with chinooks frequently warming us up and even allowing for the occasional January driving range session. Indeed, Medicine Hat is blessed with pleasant weather.  This is perhaps one of the reasons that Medicine Hat’s senior population is higher than the provincial average, according to numbers coming out of Stats Canada.

When it comes to serving the needs of the growing senior community, our climate is a built-in advantage, and one that residents and businesspeople have both recognized.

Masterpiece Care Corporation bet big on Medicine Hat’s senior population when they built their River Ridge property in 2002 and are doing it again with the luxurious Southland Meadows property expected to open later this year. River Ridge recently sold to BC-based Park Place Seniors Living who operate two other facilities in the city, proving yet again that business recognizes opportunity in serving Medicine Hat’s senior population.

Those are perhaps the most obvious investments into this segment, but they’re certainly not the only ones. Physicians seem to have noticed as well. Over 85% of Medicine Hat residents have a family doctor, which is significantly higher than the provincial average of 77.5%. Each new physician who opens a practice in Medicine Hat is investing in our community.

Medicine Hat’s senior population is bearing fruit for small business as well. An example would be Medicine Hat-based Kinetisense who have developed an innovative piece of software that uses Microsoft Kinect technology to assess movement. This fast-growing technology company recently landed a deal with Netherlands-based home-care company Buurtzorg and is targeting companies in the United States. Although Kinetisense’s technology goes beyond elder care, the software is gaining significant attention in that sector for its fall prevention and other potential elder care applications.

It is not universally true but the older demographic have a tremendous amount to offer the community besides economic spin off.  The community volunteerism that is present with this demographic is significant.  A community that has such a wealth of people willing to step up and assist in this manner can only become more vibrant.

So as the senior population continues to grow in Medicine Hat, local companies will no doubt continue to grow along with it.

This article originally appeared in the Medicine Hat News Business Beat on May 10, 2017.