This publication ICT for Ageing Well- Listen to what older persons think! - written from the perspective of older persons - presents in a nutshell the outcomes of a qualitative study that took place in the frame of the EU-funded Home Sweet Home project and sheds a light to barriers and enablers for the acceptance of new technologies by older persons.
Final Home Sweet Home project publication
This publication presents the outcomes of a small qualitative study with users of ICT solutions that took place in the frame of the EU-funded Home Sweet Home project. Co-ordinated by the project Advisory Board, which was managed by AGE Platform Europe, it is written from the perspective of older persons who use technologies in their everyday living and it aims at shedding the light to barriers and enablers for the acceptance of new technologies that are introduced to help older persons live autonomously and manage better their health.
Instead of discussing elements specific only to the project, the publication is drafted in a way that can be useful to various similar settings and sets of services and is addressed to all the stakeholders who are involved in the development and deployment of such solutions: researchers, service providers, industry and SMEs, public authorities, health and social care professionals, informal caregivers, insurers and mutualities and older persons themselves.
Tests in Belgium, Ireland, Italy and Spain
The Home Sweet Home (HSH) project brought together a set of innovative services, aimed at improving and extending the independent life of older persons. The solution was tested in real life trials in 4 countries: Italy (Latina), Belgium (Antwerp), Ireland (Louth) and Spain (Badalona) and based on the outcomes of the pilot sites, HSH attempted to refine the business case in view of a large-scale deployment.
Experts comprising the HSH Advisory Board, observed and had real contact with the older persons and professionals experiencing the HSH technology through visits to the project’s pilot sites. They also coordinated the qualitative study which complemented the statistical results of the project. The work of the Advisory Board was crucial in providing long-term perspectives to the project outcomes.
The publication ‘ICT for Ageing Well – Listen to what older persons think!’ summarises the outcomes of qualitative analysis, which enrich the statistical data, gathered by the project and give a better insight into the personal factors that have affected the users’ appreciation of the devices used in the pilots.
It was drafted by Nena Georgantzi, Heidrun Mollenkopd, Marja Pijl and Ophélie Durand and is available in pdf format.
Link to publication: ICT for Ageing Well- Listen to what older persons think!
Conclusions and recommendations
The experience of the qualitative analysis in the frame of the Home Sweet Home project has generated the following conclusions and recommendations about the development and deployment of technological solutions for older persons.
Regarding future research
- Foresee both quantitative and qualitative analysis as both methodologies provide particular insights. Sufficient time and resources should be allocated to enable making links between the two.
- Expert groups (such as the Advisory Board of HSH) should have an important role in future research projects about reading, reviewing and ensuring synergies between different deliverables.
- Include interviews with the staff of the trials to gain insights on the challenges they face regarding their acceptance of technologies and make links with answers provided by participants.
- Document in detail what has changed in the course of the project, how has user involvement, advice by experts or lessons learned changed the development of the technologies and services.
- Explore whether assistive technologies are imposing a medicalised lifestyle to participants.
- Research how (far) technology can help the most vulnerable older persons: those socially excluded, suffering from dementia or depression.
Regarding technological innovation
- Develop sets of solutions that can be tailored to the needs, expectations, lifestyle, preferences and routines of the individual.
- Observe how and where people live to avoid developing solutions that cannot be used in real-life situations.
- Ensure that solutions are reliable before exposing them to users.
- Make solutions robust, attractive and practical, taking due account of energy provision and challenges related to change of batteries.
- Opt for mainstream solutions, integrated – as far as possible – to a single device.
- For health and safety-related devices a back-up should be available in case technology fails.
- Affordability should be at the centre of technological innovation for older persons.
- Although many of these technologies were conceived to reduce the need for personal contact with carers and health professionals, the study has shown that users highly appreciate the contact with the staff involved in the trials. Perhaps these technologies would be more acceptable as a tool to improve the work of health professionals and the quality of life of older persons, rather than a way to save on resources. Further analysis is needed.
- The quite low willingness to pay shows that an individualization of the cost is probably not the way forward. Different financing models should be explored.
- Costs for training, technical support and maintenance should be part of the package.
Link to publication:
The publication is available in pdf format: ICT for Ageing Well- Listen to what older persons think!