Sustaining IT use by older people to promote autonomy and independence
This collaborative research project will explore and examine the relationship between the dynamics of ageing and the dynamics of digital ICTs, in order to better understand how ICT can support or enrich quality of life and autonomy of older people as they age. It is known that digital ICTs have the potential to support older people to live independently, promote social inclusion or facilitate access to commercial or government services. However, as people age they often experience decline in their physical or cognitive abilities which can make it difficult to continue use of, or keep up with, digital tools and services. The resulting disengagement from the digital world can constitute a significant reduction in quality of life for some older people.
Leela Damodaran, Loughborough University Wendy Olphert, Loughborough University
To address the complex sociotechnical research questions successfully requires knowledge and expertise from multiple disciplines and perspectives, in addition to that of older people. Accordingly, the Sus-IT CRP enables the expertise of academic researchers across a range of disciplines (participatory and user-centred design, psychology, gerontology, sociology, computer and information science, human-computer interaction, interactive theatre and learning technologies) to combine with that of and practitioners, product developers, local government, assistive technology providers and disability organisations.
The project aims to generate new knowledge and understanding of the dynamics of ageing in relation to the dynamics of ICT use and development. Through informing and influencing policy, practice, design and research, this knowledge will in turn enable older people to access, creatively shape, use and adapt ICTs to sustain and enrich their autonomy, independence and quality of life. Specific objectives are :
In order to tackle the issues of diversity and dynamics, the research will use both qualitative and quantitative methods. This will allow researchers to analyse trends and draw conclusions, while the participating older people can have their individual perspectives recognised and respected. The methodology will include: