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Ryman News

Friday, 12 October 2018

Media release

Japanese inventor wins the 2018 Ryman Prize

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Professor Takanori Shibata has been awarded the 2018 Ryman Prize in recognition of his more than 25 years of ground-breaking research into new technology to help older people.

Professor Shibata, an artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics pioneer, was presented with the prize by the Right Honourable Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand, at a special ceremony in Auckland today.

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The Ryman Prize is an annual $250,000 international award for the best work carried out anywhere in the world that has enhanced quality of life for older people. It is the richest prize of its kind in the world.

Professor Shibata, Chief Senior Research Scientist at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) in Japan, was awarded this year’s prize for his tenacity in pursing new technology to help ease the burden of older people suffering from dementia.

In 1993 he set out to use the latest advances in artificial intelligence and robotics to create a device that would be a practical help to older people with conditions such as dementia.

His product, PARO, is a drug-free therapeutic robot that uses sensors, robotics and sophisticated Artificial Intelligence software to mimic a real seal.

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It has been proven as a drug-free therapeutic alternative to improve mood, reduce anxiety, decrease perception of pain, enhance sleep and decrease feelings of loneliness in patients.

PARO has been in production since 2005 and is used in 30 countries.

The Japanese inventor was delighted to win and said he would be using the money to invest in more research.

“I am extremely proud to have won the Ryman Prize,’’ Takanori Shibata said.

“It represents a lot of work over the past 25 years, but I couldn’t have done it without the support of many people and my family.

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“I set out to find a way to use technology as an alternative drug-free therapy to ease the suffering of patients with dementia.

“The health challenges faced by older people are enormous and growing but technology is changing just as quickly.

“We’ve proved that this is possible, and that Artificial Intelligence has huge potential for the future. We’ve pioneered a way of working but there is a lot more work to do.’’

About Takanori Shibata:

Professor Shibata, Chief Senior Research Scientist at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) in Japan, has been a pioneer in the field of the health of older people for more than two decades.

His discoveries are likely to influence the future of healthcare.

Professor Shibata was inspired by seeing the benefits that animal therapy could bring to dementia patients.

He set about creating a robot that could soothe and reassure patients by responding to touch and speech.

The advantage of a robot is that it is infection-free and completely safe to use. And it doesn’t bite or need feeding.

As well as winning recognition as a licenced medical device by the FDA, the design excellence behind PARO has been recognised with it being included in exhibitions at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Louvre and the Museum of Modern Art.

Professor Shibata has spent more than 20 years constantly refining and improving PARO and has won over many sceptics with his advocacy for robotics in what can be a controversial field of care.

The device is now in its ninth generation, having been constantly refined and updated as robotics, AI and computing power improve.

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About the Ryman Prize:

The Ryman Prize is administered by the Ryman Foundation. The annual prize consists of a $250,000 grant which is awarded by an international jury to the best invention, idea, research concept or initiative that has enhanced quality of life for older people.

It is the world’s richest prize of its type and was established to create the equivalent of a Nobel Prize for people working in the field of the health of older people.

The prize was launched in 2015 and the inaugural prize was won by Gabi Hollows, the founding director of The Fred Hollows Foundation.

Gabi Hollows set up the charity with her late husband Professor Fred Hollows, and together they worked tirelessly to tackle the problem of preventable blindness in the developing world.

The 2016 prize was won by Professor Henry Brodaty. Professor Brodaty is a pioneer in diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s and dementia and his influence has been felt around the world.

The 2017 Ryman Prize was won by Professor Peter St George-Hyslop, a geneticist and researcher based at Cambridge and the University of Toronto. Peter has spent 30 years researching neuro-degenerative diseases, focusing on discovering the key genes and proteins that cause cells to degenerate in diseases such as early onset Alzheimer’s Disease.

The Ryman Prize jury includes:

  • Professor Brian Draper, Conjoint Professor in the School of Psychiatry at the University of New South Wales.
  • Professor Sarah Harper CBE, Director of the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing.
  • Professor Tim Wilkinson, consulting geriatrician and Associate Dean of Medical Education, Otago School of Medicine.
  • Dr Naoko Muramatsu, health and ageing research specialist, University of Illinois at Chicago.
  • Professor Erwin Neher, Nobel Laureate and Professor at the University of Göttingen, Germany. Dr Neher is a biophysicist who won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1991.
  • Dr David Kerr, Ryman Healthcare Chairman, Fellow and Past President of the New Zealand Medical Association, Fellow with Distinction of the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners.

Media advisory:

For interviews or further information, photos or comment please contact Ryman Prize director David King on 03 366 4069 (00643 3664069) or 021 499 602 (006421 499 6902) Email:david.king@rymanhealthcare.com.

 

Tuesday, 09 October 2018

Kiwi treasure wins acting award

George Henare wins Ryman-backed lifetime achievement award

Ryman LifetimeAchievementAward Oct18

Read more

 

Tuesday, 02 October 2018

Media release

Naval hero William Sanders immortalised with village named in his honour

Ryman Healthcare has named its new Devonport retirement village in honour of New Zealand’s most highly decorated naval hero - William Sanders.

William, the only New Zealander to win a Victoria Cross in a naval battle, died after his ship was torpedoed by a German submarine in 1917.

He won the Victoria Cross – the Commonwealth’s highest honour for bravery – as well as the Distinguished Service Order.

Ryman Healthcare names its villages after significant local people and William Sanders was suggested as an appropriate name by Devonport residents.

The name was unveiled at a special event today attended by members of the extended Sanders family, the Royal New Zealand Navy as well as Ryman residents and staff.

The name – a closely guarded secret until today – got a warm reception from the 140 guests at a special unveiling in Devonport.

Eric Welch, William’s great nephew, said it was a great honour for the family.

“It would mean a lot to my grandmother. William was her brother and she talked about him a lot – there was a great heaviness of heart – a sadness about his loss that was always there for her.

“He gave his life in the war and she always said we should respect that. I think she would have wanted to see his name respected in this way.’’

Ryman Chief Executive Gordon MacLeod said it was an honour to name the village after such a significant hero.

“William was an extraordinarily brave New Zealander and we’re pleased to be able to honour his name in this way.’’

Born in Auckland in 1883, William went to Takapuna School and grew up with a love of swimming and the sea.

He went to sea as a cabin boy at the age of 16 and rose through the ranks. When World War 1 broke out he joined the Royal Navy Reserve and served on several ships before being given command of the HMS Prize.

The Prize was a Q Ship – a decoy vessel that was used to lure German submarines into an attack.

Outwardly the Prize looked like a conventional merchant sailing ship, but it was fitted with concealed weapons.

Royal New Zealand Navy historian Michael Wynd said Q Ships were essentially used as bait.

Once they were attacked a few members of the crew – known as a panic party - would abandon ship and paddle away in a life raft.

The remainder would wait for the U boat to get closer, and then attack.

“You can only imagine how dangerous that was – playing cat and mouse with a ship that was much bigger and more powerful than they were.’’

In April 1917 the Prize was sailing off the coast of Ireland when it was attacked by submarine U 93.

William and the crew kept their nerve while under intense shelling by the U boat for 25 minutes. As the submarine moved in for the kill, they struck back in a surprise attack, badly damaging the enemy.

Described as a man of iron nerves, William was awarded the Victoria Cross for his ‘’conspicuous gallantry, consummate coolness and skill in command’’ while in action.

Just four months later, in August 1917, William was killed when the Prize was attacked by another submarine. He was 34 years old when he died and had never married.

He was awarded a posthumous DSO for his bravery in another attack in June 1917.

“William Sanders remains the most highly decorated naval officer in our history,’’ Michael Wynd said.

“He is also a model of bravery and leadership that we still use today for our sailors to aspire to.’’

Construction on the new William Sanders Retirement Village began last year and its first residents are due to move in early next year.

The village will offer a full range of retirement living options with care tailored to each resident’s needs.

The village will include independent apartments, service apartments as well as a care centre with resthome, hospital and dementia-level care options will be provided.

The resort-style amenities in the village will include an indoor swimming pool, spa, gymnasium, hairdressing and beauty salons, café, movie theatre, library, a bar and billiards room.


About Ryman:

Ryman Healthcare was founded in Christchurch in 1984 and owns and operates 32 retirement villages in New Zealand and Australia. Ryman villages are home to 10,800 residents, and the company employs 5,000 staff.

Media advisory:

For further information, photos, interviews or comment please contact Corporate Affairs Manager David King on 03 366 4069 or 021 499 602.

 

Monday, 24 September 2018

Media release

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Anthony Leighs, newly appointed director of Ryman Healthcare.

Anthony Leighs joins Ryman Healthcare’s board

Ryman Healthcare has announced the appointment of Anthony Leighs to the company’s board.

Anthony founded Leighs Construction in 1995 and has built the privately-owned company into one of New Zealand’s leading commercial construction contractors.

Ryman Healthcare Chairman Dr David Kerr said Anthony was a welcome addition to the board.

“Anthony brings a deep knowledge of the construction industry to the board table. He’s built his own successful construction company from the ground up, so he understands exactly what it takes to build complicated construction projects safely, on time and within budget. We look forward to his contribution over the coming years.’’

Christchurch-based Anthony, 47, will join the board from October 1.

“I am very excited about joining Ryman Healthcare’s board of directors,’’ Anthony said.

“I have enormous admiration for the business, for the services the business provides to older people, the company’s grounded and caring values and the success that has been generated to date.

“Building is an important part of Ryman’s activities and I look forward to contributing to what I am sure will be further success over the coming years.”

Ryman Healthcare has a busy construction division, with four new villages under construction and another 12 villages in its development pipeline.

Ryman Healthcare Chief Executive Gordon MacLeod said it was good to have Anthony on board as Ryman looked to double its build rate over the next few years.

“We’re already one of the largest residential and healthcare infrastructure builders in New Zealand, and our growth plans require a further lift in our building capacity while maintaining safety and quality.

“We’ve got some really challenging goals to meet so we are delighted to welcome Anthony to the board. He brings a specific set of governance skills which will support our ever-expanding development and construction operations.’’

Anthony Leighs’ appointment brings the number of directors on Ryman’s board from six to seven.

The board now consists of:

  • Dr David Kerr, independent director, chairman.
  • Warren Bell, independent director, deputy chairman.
  • Jo Appleyard, independent director.
  • George Savvides, independent director.
  • Claire Higgins, independent director.
  • Geoff Cumming, director.
  • Anthony Leighs, independent director.

About Ryman:

Ryman was founded in 1984 and has become one of New Zealand’s largest listed companies. The company owns and operates 33 villages and serves over 10,800 residents in New Zealand and Australia. Each village offers a combination of retirement living and aged care.

Media advisory:

For further information, photos, interviews or comment please contact Corporate Affairs Manager David King on 03 366 4069 or 021 499 602.

 

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