Easy Life, Intelligent Systems, and Life 2.0: European Research on Ict for Aging Adults

Topics: Sociology, Old age, Gerontology Pages: 22 (7426 words) Published: August 12, 2013

Carrie Beth Peterson, Neeli Rashmi Prasad Center for TeleInFrastruktur, Aalborg University Aalborg, Denmark cbp@es.aau.dk; np@es.aau.dk

ABSTRACT Lack of access and accessibility have been two of the largest impediments for older adults and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) use, resulting in reduced computer skills, lack of motivation, and aversion to new technologies. By looking at these influential barriers, we can see that this is partially due to technologies being designed and marketed towards the younger generations and do not allow for inclusive design. Aging is usually not considered when designing mainstream products and there can be a distinct lack of industry awareness about the cohort’s capabilities. Additionally, even when Assistive Technologies (AT) are developed specifically to help marginalized groups, a lack of interoperability can hamper uptake. Since the 1990’s, the European Union has contributed to the development of eHealth and this has helped to place Europe as one of the leading world investors in the field. As a result, the EU is utilizing industrial, scientific, and social resources to accelerate product and service synchronization. Innovation and development in these areas not only benefits European citizens and residents, but also strengthens the European industry market. ICT sectors are experiencing a growth in the needs and marketability of tools and services designed specifically for older adults. If a service is offering opportunities to emphasize resources and capabilities already available, research must incorporate design and functionality requirements and preferences of aging adults. This can help to improve or maintain QoL, allow for aging in place and independent living, increase socialization through connection services, and reduce cost of care burdens expected with the increase in aged proportions of global populations.

KEY WORDS Quality of Life, Aging, Digital Inclusion, Gerontechnology

1. INTRODUCTION The European Commission (EC) has set out making policy and practice adjustments towards improving the Quality of Life (QoL) for all Europeans. One major aspect of this is the “Information Society,” which has tremendous potential for improving QoL in people across Europe. Several of these EC policies utilize ICT in order to affect a wide range of activities and services. One such area of influence is the European Union (EU) healthcare situation, which is discovering the benefits of computer-aided healthcare practices. The EU accepts healthcare as a national responsibility and the EC is fostering faster development and dissemination of eHealth activities by helping organizations within the EU to learn from each other through Member State collaboration. To narrow the scope of European improvements in QoL, this research explores the aging population, which is rapidly increasing in age and populace. A 40% increase in older adults (those aged 65+) will occur from 2010 to 2030; additionally, 25% of the total European Union population will be older adults already by 2020 [1]. With the resulting increase in needed housing, medical and social care services, as well as the decreasing proportion of taxable workforce, it is apparent that Europe faces substantial challenges for health, society, and economy. The EU action plan on “Aging Well in the Information Society,” aims to develop gerontechnological solutions for the purpose of increasing QoL [2]. Accordingly, we can see that these requisites and endeavors have vast implications for social and healthcare sectors, housing and development, reducing the digital divide, increasing inclusive design, and providing access to public and private services. Historically, lack of access and accessibility have been two of the biggest barriers for older adults and ICT use, further resulting in reduced computer skills, lack of motivation, and even...

References: [3] ISISEMD Intelligent System for Independent Living and SelfCare of Seniors with Cognitive Problems or Mild Dementia. http://www.isisemd.eu/, 2009-2012.
[4] Data Protection Working Party of Article 29 of Directive 95/46/EC
[7] von Hippel, E. and von Krogh, G. “Open Source Software and the Private-Collective Innovation Model.” Organizational Science 14(2), 2003; 209-223.
[8] von Hippel, E
[9] Tapscott, D. and Williams, A.D. Wikinomics, how mass collaboration changes everything. (London, England: Atlantic Books, 2006).
[10] United Kingdom Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit
[11] Leadbeater, C. and Cottam, H. “The User Generated State: Public Services 2.0” in P. Diamond (ed.) Public Matters: The renewal of the public realm. (London: Politicos, pp. 95–116, 2007).
[12] CogKnow
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