Japan and North America’s Aging Problem that Startups must Address

Arpy Dragffy
2 min readSep 21, 2017


The biggest disruption no one is talking about is aging and it may not only cripple government spending (healthcare, pensions, productivity), it may also destroy small towns.

Japan is decades ahead with this problem and there towns are going extinct, with primarily seniors left since youth are flooding to cities.

Combine this with decreasing global birth rates, and the “way of life” that Trump and other nationalists seek to protect may be getting destroyed by the draw of cities, not the influx of immigrants.

As startups seek to solve societal problems, more will need to look at the challenges this future will create. The urban planning, the support structure, the commerce, the transportation challenges, the investment challenges about to come as baby boomers age and birth rates decline further.

In Canada, the Federal and Provincial Governments are not prepared for an aging population that will nearly double the amount of senior citizens by 2036. Where once fitness and health programs were aimed at youth, in this near future, these programs will need to be focused on seniors to reduce the burden on the healthcare system.

Also, by 2050 the world’s urban population with increase by 75%, from 3.6 billion in 2010, to 6.3 billion in 2050. This means not only increased density in cities, it also means that support and resources in rural centres will be stretched thin as small towns shrink.

Read some of these challenges here:

As startup mentors and design thinking facilitators we strive to help entrepreneurs and civic leaders find new solutions to big problems. Research is always key to understanding the best way to address these problems, particularly prototyping, which allows you to directly test and improve ideas.

Arpy Dragffy is a Digital Product Strategist and Innovation Consultant in Vancouver, Canada. As President of PH1 Media he leads innovation workshops and designs products and strategies for businesses who want to future-proof their relationships with customers.