The world is aging fast and there are more and more ways to invest in it. Shams Afzal, managing director at Carnegie Investment Counsel, noted that 17% of the US population is now over the age of 65, and that percentage is expected to increase. And the demographics of this age group are changing. There has been a “significant jump” in education levels – just 5% of people over the age of 65 held a bachelor’s degree in 1950, far down from 29% in 2018, Afzal said, citing Census Bureau statistics. The gender gap in mortality has also narrowed, from seven years in 1990 to five years in 2017, he said. “The debate on population aging in recent years has largely revolved around future challenges to labor productivity and its implications for economic growth,” he said. “We’re seeing significant efforts from companies large and small, working to improve the quality of life for people in this age group,” Afzal, also a portfolio manager at the firm, told CNBC Pro. CNBC Pro asks expert investors in the area what the emerging trends are and which stocks to buy. AI, robotics and wearables The aging population stands to gain significantly from innovations in AI-powered robotics, according to Afzal. An example could be a robotic personal assistant, he said, which highlights one company to watch: Figure, which is developing a robot capable of performing household tasks, conversations and commercial applications. However, the company is only at the venture capital funding stage. On the healthcare front, Afzal also pointed to the growing use of robotics in surgery. He cited studies showing that the need for hip, knee and other joint replacement procedures increases when people reach their late 60s and early 70s. Medical device company Stryker is one stock playing the theme, he said. “This is a major windfall for Stryker. It is … positioned to benefit from the aging population in the US and the EU and the growing adoption of robotics in surgery around the rest of the world,” he said. Stryker’s surgical robots are “gaining momentum” in knee replacements, and its next generation of robots is expected to tackle the spine, according to Afzal. He said the stock is “steady double-digit earnings growth” and experiencing healthy backlog for its products that are “necessary in an operating room.” Pacific Asset Management’s Dani Saurymper also highlighted AI as an opportunity in the aging issue. Examples include robot-assisted surgery, treatment planning software and virtual nursing assistants, the portfolio manager said. Saurymper manages the Pacific Longevity and Social Change Fund. Arelis Agosto, research analyst at Global X ETFs, said wearables technology is an interesting area to invest in on the aging issue. “Many chronic diseases require frequent measurement of vital signs, where continuous monitoring through wearable sensors could make a noticeable difference,” he said. Continuous glucose meters are one example, according to her. They are sensors placed under the skin that measure glucose levels and automatically transfer data to a smart device. Insulin pumps are another example. They are small portable devices that deliver insulin to diabetic patients. When used in conjunction with continuous glucose monitors, the pump adjusts insulin levels based on the patient’s blood glucose readings, Agosto noted. “We see self-sustaining monitoring and treatment systems as the future of patient care, although it is particularly beneficial for older patients,” Agosto said. Global X ETFs, a fund management company, offers a way to capitalize on the aging issue through the Aging Population ETF. For those looking for individual stocks, Carnegie’s Afzal pointed to Abbott Laboratories, particularly its continuous glucose monitoring business — which sells the FreeStyle Libre product. He highlighted it as an “area to watch”, noting that Abbott’s vision is to transform the product into a “wearable sports lifestyle device that becomes part of one’s technology ecosystem”. Education Education is a “great example of where many longevity issues are intertwined,” Saurymper said. About 33 percent of doctors will be 65 or older by 2030, and industry surveys predict there will be a shortage of 140,000 doctors in the U.S. in 10 years, he said. “As society ages, the demand for healthcare professionals will only increase,” Saurymper said. He named one stock to watch on this topic of healthcare education: Adtalem , a medical and healthcare education company. It offers a wide variety of health care programs, including nursing and medical degrees, and should benefit from the supply-demand imbalance, he said. Screening and Prevention Global X ETFs’ Agosto highlighted a major recent trend related to an aging population: the push toward preventive medicine. “The GLP-1 class is a great example of the success of therapies that can see if they have broad potential to help prevent chronic disease,” Agosto said. GLP-1 drugs, originally developed as a treatment for diabetes, are now also used for weight loss. See how you can invest in this category. He said obesity was responsible for 80% of the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, which one in four elderly patients live with. “We see the broader shift in improving chronic disease care and the increased focus on preventing such diseases as the single most important driver of growth for the aging population,” said Agosto. In the imaging space, Saurymper likes Hologic, which manufactures and supplies high-end diagnostic products and medical imaging systems. The company has begun using artificial intelligence algorithms to speed up mammogram reading times and boost cancer detection in its image analysis products, he said.