The 3rd SHAPES Dialogue Workshop, organized last 27 April with the support of AGE Platform Europe, addressed the technical and societal opportunities and challenges of technological platforms. Led by the University of Castilla-La Mancha (Spain), the event relied to a great extent on the national Spanish perspective.
The event is part of a series of 8 Dialogue Workshops of SHAPES, an EU-funded project developing an open platform with technological resources for healthy ageing. AGE Platform Europe is a partner of the project.
Opening the workshop Teresa Riesgo, Secretary-General for Innovation of the Spanish Government, praised the potential of SHAPES to contribute to a fair and innovative recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The first panel addressed the technical challenges of technologies for healthy ageing. It included speakers from other EU-funded initiatives, including Pharaon, another EU project of which AGE is a partner.
The second panel reflected on the societal aspects. It included a variety of perspectives, including that of Elizabeth Mestheneos, former AGE president and representative of AGE member 50plus Hellas (Greece). She called on technology to reflect on the actual needs of older people:
“Although they are the ‘end-users’ of healthy ageing technology, older people should not be involved at the end of the design process. When you talk about usage talk about involving users”.
Mrs Mestheneos further warned against pervasive ageism in the design of technologies and insisted on the fact that human contact will always be needed.
“If technology is not good enough for you, it is not good enough for older people”.
The next Dialogue Workshop will take place in October and will be integrally organized by AGE. It will reflect on the lived realities of older people in Europe.