NEWS:


The Rt Hon. Stephen Dorrell, Chair of the NHS Confederation and former Secretary of State for Health and former Chair of the Health Select Committee, and Dwayne Johnson, Director of Adult Social Care, Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council have agreed to join our fantastic list of speakers at the Future of Ageing conference.

Dr Margaret McCartney, GP, author and regular contributor on Radio 4’s Inside Health, will also present at the conference. Dr Islene Araujo de Carvalho of the Department of Ageing and Life Course at the World Health Organisation will also focus on health and care issues, taking a more global perspective.

Conference attendees will also hear from:

  • John Cridland CBE, Head of the Independent State Pension Age Review
  • John Pullinger CB, National Statistician, UK Statistics Authority
  • Professor Sarah Harper, Director, Oxford Institute of Population Ageing
  • Linda Woodall, Director of Life Insurance and Financial Advice, and sponsor of the Ageing Population project, Financial Conduct Authority
  • Jonathan Stevens, Senior Vice President, Thought Leadership, AARP
  • David Sinclair, Director, International Longevity Centre - UK
  • The Rt Hon. the Lord Carey of Clifton, Archbishop of Canterbury 1991-2001

Join as at the Future of Ageing Conference on Wednesday, 9th November. Our Earlybird prices must end on 31st August, so sign up now to take advantage of this special discounted rate.

 

The International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK) is organising its first major all day conference on The Future of Ageing, on Tuesday 24th November 2015 in London.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Baroness Altmann (Minister or Pensions);
  • Professor Sir Mark Walport (Government Chief Scientific Adviser [GCSA] and Head of the Government Office for Science);
  • David Willetts (Executive Chair at Resolution Foundation, and former Minister of State [Department for Business, Innovation and Skills]);
  • Lord Filkin (Chair of the Centre for Ageing Better and Chair of the House of Lords Committee on Public Service and Demographic Change);
  • Paul Johnson (Director, Institute for Fiscal Studies);
  • Steve Groves (Chief Executive Officer at Partnership);
  • Professor Jane Elliott (Chief Executive, Economic and Social Research Council);
  • Steven Baxter (Partner, Hymans Robertson); and
  • Professor Ian Philp (Deputy Medical Director for Older People’s Care, Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust) will be speaking at the conference.

The conference will be chaired by Baroness Sally Greengross (Chief Executive, ILC-UK) and Lawrence Churchill (Trustee, ILC-UK).

ILC-UK are grateful to McCarthy & Stone and Partnership for their sponsorship of this conference.

Bookings can be made through the ILC-UK website.

  • Tech innovation is vital to help us adapt to ageing:  Without productivity improvements, health spending in 2063-64 might need to be 5.0 % of GDP higher than currently projected.
  • A design response to ageing can also benefit UK plc: The over 65s in the UK spend around £2.2 billion per week and they could be spending over £6 billion per week (£312 billion per annum) by 2037.
  • Government and designers must work together to break down the barriers to innovation
  • Report suggests series of ideas for innovation including “cuddle cushions”; “Boris scooters”, kettles which monitor blood pressure and TV ‘buddies’.

The report warns that without technological innovation over the next decade, health and care cost could be higher than currently projected by the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR). Opportunity knocks points out that predictions for the growth in healthcare productivity are very optimistic given historic trends and that technological innovation will be vital to fill the gap.

Opportunity knocks argues that there is significant potential for responding to the challenges of ageing due to developments in wearable technologies, big data, 3D printing, cloud computing, the internet of things, and smart cities.
ILC-UK analysis of English Longitudinal Study of Ageing included in the report highlights some of the problems to be overcome and the barriers to technological solutions.

  • One in three 85-89 year olds have difficulty shopping for groceries and more than one in ten in this age group have difficulty managing money. More than half of those aged 90+ have difficulty shopping for groceries and a quarter of this age group have difficulty managing money.
  • 4 in 10 over 75s and three quarters of over 85s do not have internet access

“This report champions the positive impact that technology and design will play in helping us all to live longer, healthier, independent lives. However, we acknowledge that the potential of technology has not been fully realised. We also have to dispel the myth that this is simply a matter of niche solutions for an ageing society,”  said  Gordon Attenborough, the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s Head of Sectors.

“There’s so much more that we should achieve through the widespread application of existing and emerging technologies. It’s vital that we design and innovate with a broad range of users in mind, wholly inclusive and accessible to all. Achieve that and technology will mitigate the impending costs of an ageing society and deliver the promise it has failed to so far.”

David Sinclair, Director of the International Longevity Centre – UK added: “Technology undoubtedly offers significant potential to help respond to the challenges of ageing. But the opportunity of technological innovation in this area has historically been over egged and under realised. For us to maximise the potential of new technologies however we need more evidence on what really works and whether it will save money. We need regulation which protects consumers whilst not preventing technological innovation. And we need industry to recognise the potential of the older consumer and design for all. Finally, we need a public debate on the challenges and opportunities of using big data to improve the lives of older people. “

Professor John Clarkson, Director of the Engineering Design Centre at Cambridge which has pioneered the Inclusive Design approach commented: "This report highlights that there is a huge commercial opportunity for companies to design inclusively, driving increased customer satisfaction and boosting their market share by delivering more competitive products and services."

The report highlights a range of ideas for new technology which emerged from a workshop organised by ILC-UK, IET and The Engineering Design Centre at The University of Cambridge. The ideas are designed not as “solutions to ageing” but to highlight the potential for innovation in focussing on this consumer group.

  • A kettle which monitors blood pressure
  • TV buddies to allow people to remotely share the experience of watching a programme.
  • A ‘cuddle cushion’ which would allow relatives being able to send each other cuddles
  • A smart water bottle which would prompt people to drink more to prevent dehydration
  • Accessible and modern “Boris Scooters” (or Segway’s) in towns and cities to help people with mild mobility impairments get around
  • The development of national “trusted information” systems for online and telephone transactions to reduce the risk of scams

The report highlights some ideas to maximise the potential of the sharing economy to support our ageing society.

Cooking buddies

  • A barcode scanner in the home could be used to upload the contents of your fridge to an interface which would share the information with your neighbours. Taking a peek in to each other’s fridges, seeing what people had a surplus of or what was about to go out of date, could encourage neighbours to cook together making meal times more sociable.

Integrated leisure and transport

  • Leisure activities, such as a trip to the theatre or to a restaurant, could come with transport included. When you book a ticket there could be the option to also book transport. If a large number of people were also booking transport to an event a mini-bus could then be sent to collect them all at a much lower costs than them all booking taxis separately.

The Future of Transport in an Ageing Society, a new report by thinktank The International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK) and charity Age-UK, highlights the travel problems faced by millions of older people.

 

  • Despite free bus travel, one third of over 65s in England never use public transport. And over half either never use public transport or use it less than once a month.
  • Approximately 35,000 people aged 65-84 in England have difficulty walking even a short distance, but are restricted to using public transport making any journey difficult.
  • 1.45 million over 65s find it quite difficult or very difficult to travel to a hospital, whilst 630,000 over 65s find it difficult or very difficult to travel to their GP.

Furthermore the report shows that it is the oldest old, those who are in poor health and those living in rural areas who are let down the most by the current public transport system:

 

  • Among the over 80s less than 55% report finding it easy to travel to a hospital, a supermarket or a post office.
  • Among the over 65s who report that it is ‘Very Difficult’ for them to travel to see their GP, less than 30% are in good health.
  • Just 20% of those aged 70-74 living in rural areas use public transport weekly, compared to 38% of those who live in an urban setting.

The report argues that with the start of the new Parliament it is time to embrace the opportunities for improvement. In particular, devolution of central Government powers to local communities could mean more flexible transport services which better reflect the needs of older people, while advances in technology, including driverless cars, could further expand older people’s transport options.

Helen Creighton of ILC-UK said:

“Travel is essential for independent living and has been shown to benefit physical health and mental wellbeing in later life. Furthermore there is evidence that maintaining older people’s mobility has substantial economic benefits, with analysis by ILC-UK estimating that concessionary fares will provide a net benefit to the wider community of £19.4 billion in the years up to 2037. This report, which highlights the travel difficulties facing older people, emphasises the need to adapt our transport system to meet the demands of our ageing society.”

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK said:

"It is crucial that older people are able to get out and about, especially as the evidence shows this helps them retain their health and independence for longer. Against this context it is worrying that so many older people are struggling to reach hospital, or sometimes even their local GP.

“This report should be a wakeup call because it shows our transport system is not currently meeting the needs of our growing ageing population. The bus pass is an absolute lifeline for many who would otherwise be stranded at home and is utterly essential, but the truth is it's not enough on its own to enable older people to stay mobile.

For example, better transport planning and more imaginative use of volunteers could make a big difference today; and in the medium term 'driverless cars' and other technological innovations could be real game changers."

New research by the ILC-UK reveals a continuing generational divide in access to and trust of health information. The research finds that older people are more likely to use and trust doctors and nurses whilst younger people are more likely than older to look towards pharmacists and online and telephone services.

  • One in seven UK survey respondents aged over 65 report it difficult to find health information.
  • Study paints worrying picture of health literacy across all ages with only around 7 in 10 people in the UK saying they would ‘definitely’ go to the doctor if they found a lump on their neck.
  • Whilst older people in the UK are more likely to report excellent or very good health than those in Germany, France and Portugal, 12% of people aged under 24 in the UK reported fair or poor health, a figure much higher than found in Germany, France and Portugal

“Next Generation Health Consumers”, supported by an unrestricted educational grant from Pfizer, explores where consumers go to seek out health information and who they trust.  Launching the report, ILC-UK argue that the diverse demands for health information across the generations strengthen the case not to cut traditional health information services and simply replace them with online and telephone services.

Whilst older people in the UK are more likely to report excellent or very good health than those in Germany, France and Portugal, 12% of people aged under 24 in the UK reported fair or poor health, a figure much higher than found in Germany, France and Portugal

One in seven of our UK survey respondents aged over 65 report it difficult to find health information.

The research also finds that:

Healthcare professionals such as doctors and nurses are the most frequently used and trusted sources of health information but they are still sometimes underused. Older people in the UK are more likely than younger people to go to their GP to seek advice on healthy ageing. Older people also tend to have higher levels of confidence in GPs than younger people. Only around 7 in 10 people in the UK said they would ‘definitely’ go to the doctor if they found a lump on their neck, or if they wanted information about a long-term illness, while only just over half (51.4%) would go to the doctor for information about staying healthy. 

Younger people are more likely than older to trust pharmacists: Four out of five people aged 24 or below consider pharmacists to be ‘always/ mostly’ trustworthy compared with over half (56.7%) of people aged 65 or above. While levels of trust may have been lower for those aged 65 and over, pharmacists represent the most helpful source for receiving more health information among this group.

Around a quarter of younger respondents in the UK would like to receive more information from pharmacists, and around half would like to get more health information over the internet. Whilst trust in pharmacists is particularly high among those aged 24 or under, they would still prefer to receive more health information online than from pharmacists in person.

Younger people are more likely than older to search out and trust health advice from friends, friends or colleagues. 6 in 10 under 24 year olds are ‘definitely’ or ‘very likely’ to go to family members and social networks in the event of discovering a lump on their neck. This compares with just over one in four people (27%) aged 65+. Older people are less likely than younger people to trust this source of advice.

Trust and use of in web-based health sources is stronger among younger people than older.

Young people aged 24 or under are more likely than other age groups to say that they are ‘definitely’ or ‘very likely’ to go to a medical helpline for further information on any particular health issue. Younger people in UK are twice as likely as older people to “definitely” contact a medical helpline in the event of finding a lump on their neck. Levels of trust in medical helplines declines with age in the UK. And just 5.4% of people aged 34 or under and 7.2% of those over 55 would find it helpful to get more health information from this source.

Sally-Marie Bamford, Research Director at ILC-UK said “Whilst the majority of us do not find it difficult to access health information, this research highlights that there are millions who struggle. This research highlights that there isn’t a one size fits all solution. Older and younger people trust and use different sources of health information. If we are to have an empowered and healthy older population, improving access to health information is vital. As new ways of communicating become more commonplace we must not forget the diversity of our population. We must work to raise the health literacy of all ages.”

Launching the report, ILC-UK urge health information providers to recognise the need for significantly different tools to communicate health messages to older and younger people. The report urges service providers to continue to invest in tackling digital exclusion and encourages Governments and Health and Social Care professionals to do more to develop health literacy as part of strategy to help raise awareness among population of how to look after themselves.

Electrical Safety First is urging the Government to put an end to poor quality housing after its report, released today, concludes that one million people aged over 75 currently live in non-decent homes.

The report, A Shock to the System: Electrical Safety in an Ageing Society, reveals that the current housing stock is putting vulnerable people at risk, and is not fit to allow people to age safely in their own homes, with those living in low-income households or in rural areas most affected. A lack of new builds combined with an ageing population means this situation will worsen unless urgent action is taken.

Housing is classed as non-decent if it fails to meet the Government’s Decent Homes Standard, and means they are not warm enough, are in a state of disrepair or do not have modern facilities. Poor electrical safety is a particular concern - nearly two thirds of households with a couple over 60 do not meet basic electrical safety standards , which include having such life-saving devices such as a modern fusebox, residual current device, circuit breakers and PVC wiring.

The report reveals serious concerns about the electrical safety of older people. More than 350,000 people are seriously injured by electricity every year and older adults are more likely to be affected - a person over 60 is ten times more likely to die in a fire than someone one aged 17 to 24.

The Charity explains how older people are disproportionately at risk because they are living in their properties for longer, meaning there is a longer time between comprehensive checks and the electrical installations and appliances also tend to be older; 42% of householders who have lived in their property for 30 or more years live in non-decent accommodation .

Phil Buckle, Director General of Electrical Safety First, said: “The Government has a duty to ensure that no-one is living in unsafe housing, and yet a million over 75s live in housing deemed non-decent by their own standards. A shortage of new builds means that housing stock will continue to age, electrics will continue to deteriorate and vulnerable people will continue to be put at risk. Most people want to stay in their home as long as possible, but for this to happen we need central and local governments to act and ensure elderly people can maintain their independence by living in safe and decent houses.”

Baroness Greengross, Chief Executive of the International Longevity Centre, who authored the report on behalf of Electrical Safety First, said: “As our population ages we are witnessing more older people living independently at home. It is therefore vital that every effort should be made to make the home environment as safe as possible.  Our Inquiry found however, that too many older people live in poor housing conditions potentially putting them at risk of electrical harm. At the same time, growing numbers of people with dementia need to be confident that their homes, which should be as hazard-free as possible. We know there are 1 million older people living in non-decent homes; there now needs to be a concerted effort from central government and local authorities to rectify this”.

The report also notes that there are other barriers to older people being electrically safe, which include a fear of letting strangers into their homes to carry out essential maintenance work, the costs of hiring  tradespeople and social isolation – all of which mean hazards may go unnoticed. Dementia can also increase safety risks as memory problems and confusion can mean electrical appliances are used unsafely.

To address these issues, Electrical Safety First has produced a free leaflet which includes tips and advice for anyone concerned about safety in their own home or that of a relative/friend. The Charity also says that a number of safety issues can be identified and addressed through a simple visual check of a home and has produced a free smartphone app to carry out these checks. For more information, to download the booklet or access the app, visit www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/agesafe.

Ends

 

SOS 2020 is a major new programme of work led by ILC-UK which will raise awareness of the need to adapt our economy and society to the big strategic challenges posed by an ageing population.

SOS 2020 will outline the specific policy measures needed to achieve this goal. It will illuminate the issues that face us and develop fully considered and costed solutions that will act as a “call to action” to policy-makers and politicians. Above all SOS 2020 aims to raise national and international awareness of problems and possible solutions in which we all have a vested interest.

In an increasingly interdependent world, there is a need to look beyond national shores for collective consensus and joint solutions. SOS 2020 will give us the opportunity to do this.

ILC-UK launched SOS 2020 in July 2014, with the support of Aviva and EY, where we began two projects:

  • Financial Sustainability - which will focus on how we can deliver sustainable yet adequate retirement incomes
  • Health Sustainability – which will focus on fostering innovation in health and social care systems


Financial Sustainability
The aim of this project is to draw out some credible scenarios about resilience in retirement over the next twenty years in response to the new freedoms at the point of retirement. We envisage creating three credible scenarios, each with clear driving forces which combine to shape the future in different ways. These scenarios will be qualitative and quantitative – utilising compelling stories and narratives alongside robust modelling work in order to demonstrate the impact of the different scenarios on financial resilience. This will enable us to make important recommendations to policy makers and to show the various impacts of making different policy choices.  


Health Sustainability
The aim of this project is to create a bank of robust innovative case studies of sustainable health systems, fully costed, and then apply these to different countries from which we can assess their suitability to drive innovation at the global level. We will identify innovations across four agreed thematic areas, these will include: the prevention agenda, dementia, technology, information analysis, health literacy, integrated care, research and drug development and incorporate the wider financing of health and social care (for example which systems incentivise a sustainable approach, insurance systems and self-care systems). 
By identifying sustainable innovations in health and care from across the world and then trying to apply these in different country settings, we ultimately hope to offer robust and verifiable models that will improve performance (better health outcomes and reduced costs) at a time of growing pressure.

While undertaking these projects ILC-UK will continue to seek support for other strands of work as part of SOS 2020. This programme of work has the potential to be a leading catalyst with an evidence led, solution orientated approach, not only in the fields of health and retirement featured today, but also in Communities, the built environment and transport systems which, collectively, will shape the quality of life for us and our children.

If you would like more information on any aspect of the project please do get in touch:

 

  • Ben Franklin (benfranklin@ilcuk.org.uk) will be leading on Sustainable Retirement Income.
  • Sally-Marie Bamford (sallymariebamford@ilcuk.org.uk) will be leading on Sustainable Healthcare.
  • Jonathan Scrutton (jonathanscrutton@ilcuk.org.uk) will be the overall coordinator for the project.

“Nudge or Compel?: Can behavioural economics tackle the digital exclusion of older people?”, supported by social investor Nominet Trust, explores how we can use behavioural economics to tackle the digital exclusion of older people.

The report highlights that over 7.5 million adults have never used the internet. The majority of non-users are older, have disabilities or are in the lowest social classes.

The report highlights new analysis of data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) on the behavioural traits which accompany internet usage among older people. It finds that:

  • People who reported using the internet tended to report feeling more in control of various aspects of their lives.
  • People who didn’t own a computer were more likely to feel that they were unable to learn a new skill, while conversely people who did own a computer were more likely to agree that they could.
  • People who reported not using the internet were more likely to say that they ‘often’ felt isolated from others. Conversely, people who said they did use the internet were more likely to respond that they ‘hardly ever or never’ felt isolated. The same pattern was found for loneliness.

Launching the report, Baroness Sally Greengross said:
“Technology plays an increasingly important part in our society yet millions of older people are still not online. This report highlights a strong association between being offline and isolation, loneliness and a perception of not being in control.  As more and more private and public services are made available exclusively online, there is a risk of greater exclusion. Technology is not just for younger people, it is for all of us. Yet as we move services online, “Digital by Default” must play a role in nudging those people who are offline towards the internet.”

Annika Small, chief executive at Nominet Trust comments: “Digital technology can play a key role in creating strong networks for people in later life that will help reduce isolation and loneliness. It is critical that we find ways to motivate older people to get online by demonstrating how the internet can strengthen vital social ties that will help them to remain active and engaged. This, in turn, can delay and prevent some of the negative effects of ageing that many people currently experience.”

David Sinclair, Assistant Director, Policy and Communications at ILC-UK added:
“Public policy aimed at getting older people online has tended to focus how we can develop skills and ensure access to new technology. But far too often, we have overlooked the role played by behaviour and choice.

We have recently seen the use of behavioural economics to encourage a new generation to save for the first time. We must better explore how we can use these techniques to tackle the other challenges faced by an ageing society. ‘Nudge or Compel’ highlights that Behavoral economics can help us tackle digital exclusion. We know, for example, that the fear of something going wrong can act as a barrier to people getting online in the first place. We urge service providers to take away some of that fear, such as by guaranteeing that individuals should be able to return to a paper service if the online experience does not work for them.”

Amongst other recommendations, the report also calls on

  • Service providers to attract older customers by finding ways of discounted installation and connection deals, and initial periods of free internet access.
  • Companies advertising technology and opportunities to learn technology to use imagery of both older and younger people.
  • Government and the private sector to support local digital champions to make the case at a community level for the use of new technology.
  • Government and the private to invest more in adult learning, particularly if certain services are going to be made available exclusively online.
  • The technology sector to place more emphasis on co-design.


NOTES

- ‘Nudge or Compel? Can behavioural economics tackle the digital exclusion of older people?’ will be available on the ILC-UK website www.ilcuk.org.uk on 29th November at 6am

- The concept of Nudge was developed by Thaler and Sunstein (2008)  and is based on the field of behavioural theory which suggests that individuals’ actions and decisions don’t result simply from a rational overview of external circumstances. Instead they are equally likely to be based on systems of habitual behaviour based on learned traits and biases.


Contact:
Jessica Watson or David Sinclair at ILC-UK 020 7340 0440 or 07531 164 886


About ILC-UK
www.ilcuk.org.uk

The International Longevity Centre-UK is the leading think tank on longevity and demographic change. It is an independent, non-partisan think-tank dedicated to addressing issues of longevity, ageing and population change. We develop ideas, undertake research and create a forum for debate.

About Nominet Trust
www.nominettrust.org.uk

Nominet Trust is a UK registered charity, which believes in the power of digital technology to improve lives and communities.

The  Trust brings together, invests in and supports people committed to  using digital technology to create social and economic value.

Nominet  Trust has invested in hundreds of projects since its inception,  providing business support as well as financial investment, seeking to  connect projects to prospective partners who can help increase their  reach and impact.

Nominet  Trust was founded in 2008 by Nominet, the not-for-profit organisation  responsible for the smooth and secure running of the .uk internet  infrastructure. Nominet has a strong public purpose and the Trust is one  example of its commitment to creating a safer, accessible and diverse  internet.

 

The International Longevity Centre - UK (ILC-UK) has today published “The Fictions, Facts and Future of Older People and Technology” a think piece by Simon Roberts, design anthropologist with Intel’s Digital Health Group. The first in a series, this think piece argues that the language used to talk about older people and technology is often ageist and underplays the diversity of the population’s usage, atittudes and experiences. People, of whatever age, are ‘multi-dimensional’ and technology needs to support multi-dimensional lives and experiences.

Author Simon Roberts says, “To put excitement and purpose into our technologies for ageing populations we need to talk differently about ourselves, the ageing and older people. We need to find ways of continuing to include older people in the process of design and delivery. By working with older people and understanding their specific needs we can ensure that end-user needs are the central design point of developing technology. This type of approach encourages us to look at older people as ourselves in a few years time and not as ‘different’ group of people.”

He continues, “Contrary to popular belief there is high willingness amongst older people to adopt and use technology of all varieties. Technology has great potential to connect, engage, educate and entertain us as we age, but there is a wider need to change the approach to older people and technology if we are to truly capitalise on that potential.”

The report suggests that there is a need for current thinking about technology for older people, and the understanding of older people’s experiences of ageing to catch up with each other. Understanding how older people engage with technology is key to shaping our attitude and approach. However, the report highlights that there is conflicting and mixed evidence about the usage of new technology by older people which leads to confusion:

Figures from the Office of National Statistics[1] shows increased use of the internet by over 65s in the last five years, but a recent Oxford Internet Survey[2] suggests that while use of the internet has continued to grow for those in the 25-54 age range, no such growth is evident in the over 55s.
2009 Ofcom research[3] suggests that only one in ten internet users aged 55 and over have a social networking site profile. Yet other usage figures[4] from a popular social networking site suggests a huge increase in users aged 64 and over. In UK alone, the number of people 64 years or older using this networking site increased by a staggering 390 per cent between November 2008 - October 2009.


Major challenges exist if new consumer and assistive technologies are to meet the needs of an ageing society, this think piece sets out a number of recommendations:

Mind our Language
The way we talk about age impacts how we conceive and design technology for older people. Politicians, policy makers and commentators should avoid using words like ‘old’ or ‘elderly’, which imply that age is a condition or a destination, and instead talk of ‘ageing’ and ‘older’.

Beyond Cohort Thinking
We need to recognise the pitfalls of ‘cohort thinking’ which assumes that older people are one homogenous group. One way to address this issue is to encourage organisations such as Ofcom and the Office of National Statistics to segment the over 55 population more finely, recognising the differences in attitude and outlook that exist in a cohort spanning forty or more years.

Us as we Age
An approach to designing consumer and assistive technologies that is focused on ‘us as we age’, not ‘them that are already old’ would lead to the design and development of technology better suited to a diverse population.

Standards and Guidelines
Cognitive and physical declines make inroads into our abilities to use technologies as we age. Adherence to accessibility standards such as the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) for websites is therefore important but widely disregarded. We should encourage age-friendly accreditation schemes such as Age UK’s new AgeOK kitemark scheme which recognises the excellence in design for all. The UK Design Council should be encouraged to develop initiatives which could help the UK lead the way in the design of technologies for the world’s ageing populations.

Designed and delivered with Soul
We need to strive to make technology that connects people to their own aspirations, their own projects of self development, self esteem, experience and identity, rather than devices that only focus on their ‘inabilities’ and ‘needs’.

Baroness Greengross, ILC-UK Chief Executive adds, “Technology offers significant potential not just to support the care needs of older people but also to tackle some of the major challenges of isolation and exclusion. We seem to be stuck in a situation whereby we can see the potential of technology but it is not yet reaching the majority. The major issues around the impact of ageism in research and the assumptions made in relation to the policy on older people are highlighted in this report. We must address this ageism if technology is to achieve its full potential.”

References:

1)Office of National Statistics
2) OxIS 2009 Report at http://www.oii.ox.ac.uk/microsites/oxis/
3) http://www.ofcom.org.uk/research/telecoms/reports/bbresearch/bbathome.pdf
4) Facebook advertising figures in Nov 2008 and Oct 2009

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