Demographic ageing has raised many issues for policy and practice, particularly in terms of how society should best support and care for the ageing population. Governments around the western world have recommended that older people should be supported to ‘age in place’, in the belief that this will also promote quality of life and well-being in later life. There is also a policy focus on enabling older people to remain in their homes for as long as possible. While new technologies clearly have the potential to support independent living in the home for older people, it is less clear whether or not these technologies also promote a wider connection outside of the home. There is an increasing need, therefore, to critically look at the impact that technologies supporting ‘ageing in place’ have on the everyday lives of older people. It is important that the social and ethical implications that these technologies could have for older people are explored from a number of different perspectives, including those of older people, designers, social scientists and computing scientists.
This project funded social gerontology lecturer Katie Brittain to conduct a year-long discipline hop in the Digital Interaction Group in Culture Lab, and use this to forge new collaborations and build national and international links with experts in the design and development of emerging technologies for older people.
Date: Sept 2011 – Aug 2012
Funding: EPSRC: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. £81,484