Limerick looks to technology to help its ageing population

The city is hosting the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge

Limerick, aging population, IBM, Smarter Cities, Ireland, Liam Galvin

The River Shannon as it passes through Limerick city | Image: Niall Carson / PA Archive/Press Association Images

A team of top experts have arrived in Limerick to address challenges around the city’s ageing population.

Limerick is hosting the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge team, after the city was named joint winner of the programme last year.

It clenched the title alongside 16 others - including Athens, Melbourne, Denver and Amsterdam.

Five IBM staff are spending three weeks there, working with local stakeholders, analysing ways the city can improve the quality of life and independence of older adults.

It is hoped this can be done through increased connectivity and improved access to services.

“The primary focus is to develop a strategy to enable Limerick to predict and respond to the needs of older people through better management of shared information”, the team says.

The outcome will also include a road map document - with short and long term recommendations.

The City Council and local stakeholders will also contribute to these recommendations.

Ireland's fastest ageing population

The 17 winners in the programme have been selected from a pool of more than 100 cities around the world that applied for a grant of consulting services from IBM.

The consulting engagement in Limerick has an estimated commercial value of €447,000.

Mayor of Limerick, Liam Galvin, said: "This is a wonderful achievement for Limerick as past Smarter Cities Challenge engagements have delivered quantifiable results for participating cities and regions”.

“IBM has helped past winners from around the world to significantly improve the quality of life for their residents”.

While Dr Pat Daly, director of economic development at Limerick City and County Council, explained: "With a period of rapid urbanisation underway in Ireland, cities like Limerick increasingly need ways to support their aging populations”.

“Older adults who may not be re-locating to city centres face increasing barriers to accessing high quality services and support, living in a safe and accessible environment, contributing meaningfully to their community, and practicing a lifestyle that helps avoid chronic conditions later in life”.

“Limerick, which has Ireland's fastest ageing population, aims to improve quality of life and independence of older adults through increased connectivity and improved access to key services”, he added.

Corporate affairs manager with IBM Ireland, Deirdre Kennedy, said: “Limerick was selected because of its commitment to use data management and analytics to make better decisions, and for its desire to explore and act on elderly care solutions”.