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Get Your Folks Online – 52

October 30, 2012 in Idea

I came across this article in the Irish Times  (now added to our DTLater Diigo Group) – a brief abstract below:

“It is estimated that approximately 70 per cent of Europe’s wealth is in the hands of the over 50s. In the last 20 years, consumption within that age bracket has risen three times as fast as the rest of the population. By the same token, the latest research carried out in Ireland showed that only 25 percent of over 50s in Ireland have IT skills.
Yet there is no massive push on the part of advertisers and marketers to get older people online. Surely with the massive growth of online advertising and by extension online shopping, one would assume more of that “old money” would be aimed at?

The last in-depth research conducted in 2008 – commissioned by the Work Research Centre and Age Action Ireland – indicated that 25 per cent of people over 50 are online but only 35 per cent of them were engaged in functional usage. In other words, they had internet access in their houses but they weren’t getting a whole lot of benefit from it.

“This study is old so we’re also trying to stimulate better more up to date research in the area,” says Sinead Gibney, head of social action at Google Ireland and co-architect of Google’s Age Engage programme, which aims to build scalable and sustainable models for IT skills in older people.

Perception of older people within society as a whole is the first problem in tapping into this market. “It is presumed everybody in society is now online,” says Eamon Timmins of Age Action Ireland.

“This is not the case. Many older people are yet to overcome the psychological barrier of starting to learn how to use a computer and yet it is this community which could benefit most from being online.”

The key point though, is that Google and Age Action have teamed up to create a resource to deliver free training for “older” users on how to get connected, use the internet, use Skype and many other tools. From what I can tell, this initiative is specific to Ireland – see http://www.getyourfolksonline.ie/ – but maybe we can approach Google to see if there are plans to extend this programme in collaboration with other age/community support organisations.

‘Electronic Village Halls’ and Libraries – 45

October 21, 2012 in Idea

Perhaps it is timely to revisit some of the notions of the ‘electronic village hall’ which were first mooted as social telematics infrastructure in the late 80s, for example in connection with Manchester City Council’s support of The Manchester Host and regional telematics (pre-Internet). The idea was for staffed locations where computing resources would be available for the use of citizens and community organisations.

Today, many urban public libraries actually have more customers using their computers and WiFi connections than are reading or borrowing books. Rural libraries, many of them under threat of closure, are often the only local point of Internet access for those who do not have access at home. It would seem sensible during this Nominet Trust enquiry to draw the Library Services (and national librarianship bodies such as CILIP) into the conversation.

Key pinch-points for library-provided ICT access are funding, maintenance, support and training for inexperienced users, and an often underwhelming offer of Microsoft-only software.

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Casserole Club – 34

October 19, 2012 in Idea

Casserole Club enables people to share extra portions of their home cooked food with others in their area looking for a fresh meal – and develop new relationships. You can search and connect online. Casserole Club is currently focussed in Reigate and Banstead, with plans to expand.
Casserole Club
Thanks for the tip to Shirley Ayres and Disruptive Social Care Podcasts

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Membership circles for support – 35

October 19, 2012 in Idea

Technology could further enable membership organisations – Circles – that provide on-demand help with life’s practical tasks through Neighbourhood helpers
Circlecentral
Southwark Circle

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Integrated care – 36

October 19, 2012 in Idea

Public agencies can collaborate to include technologies in plans to provide integrated care solutions for people later in life.

National Smartphone Recycling Scheme – 31

October 18, 2012 in Idea

There are loads of people who would benefit from online access and services, but who have yet to be convinced of their benefits. In particular, even some who have ventured into the world of computing find it difficult to see how the expense of owning a smartphone can be justified. I see this all the time with people who come to social media surgeries. One of my constant refrains to them is that using social media via a smartphone is both essential to ensure you can participate in online conversations when they happen, and vital in finding the time to post in amongst all the other things that crowd in on your time. Older people in particular would benefit from the ubiquitous connectivity offered by smartphones, and from the ability of the professionals who work with them to connect with each other; but they cannot afford to own one, and, even people working in some relatively well-resourced organisations find it difficult to make the argument to their bosses and finance directors that smartphone use saves money in the long run,

On the other side of the coin are the millions of people who do own smartphones but who discard their old one when it comes to upgrade time. I’ve had some conversations with phone providers about recycling phones, but they are reluctant to get involved because of the issue of user data which is held on phones. This is an issue which has been overcome in the computer recycling arena, and I am sure if can be similarly conquered with regard to smartphones.

So, I contend we need a National Smartphone Recycling Scheme aimed at getting low cost smartphones into the hands, firstly of voluntary sector professional working with older people, and secondly of low income older people themselves. We could start with a feasibility study aimed at engaging a range of partners in a substantial national rollout.

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Help the helpers develop digital skills – 27

October 17, 2012 in Idea

Later life can bring isolation, as family moves away, friends die, travel is more difficult. The Internet and online communities can be a way to build new circles of friendship and explore new interests. Helpers and carers may need to develop the skills and confidence to assist in this.

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Scale up what works – 4

October 17, 2012 in Idea

Small voluntary organisations and social enterprise have a good record of developing services, using digital technology, for people later in life. Scaling up what works may be more useful than backing more startups.

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Modest incubation for solutions – 5

October 17, 2012 in Idea

Where new ideas are needed, they will often come from busy front-line staff, freelance trainers or specialist consultants. Giving them time and space to develop good solutions could yield big returns.

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Drop the “older” label – 7

October 17, 2012 in Idea

The label “older person” needs a description of interests, skills, capabilities, enthusiasms and personal needs to be useful in thinking about how technology may be useful. That’s just like anyone else …. so maybe the “older” label isn’t very useful.