Social communication platform tested to effectively inform elderly at home about all the activities, events and other services that exist in the local community
Seniors living in their home face a great risk of loneliness. The risk is much higher when the extended family is not living in the same house. Usually they are linked to the local environment through church visits, doctor visits, grocery shop, newspapers and television. The project develops an innovative social communication platform and end-user device designed for seniors who can easily communicate to everybody who joins the platform. They are able to read news; they can be immediately informed on the local events, sport activities, clubs’ activities. It can be used also as a reminder. The end-user device is designed to have only five buttons. It is connected to TV since it is senior’s prime display in the house. By implementing new communication channel to seniors, and sourcing multiple digital communication channels of senior’s friends, family, local community and care organization, we can tackle the social isolation problem raised by the introduction of the digital communication in the society. The triple helix cooperation (citizen, business, research) bring to action an awarded prototype of communication platform combined with end-user five-button device, which was positively evaluated by end users. The end user helix were representing in the design, prototyping and testing phase. They have done the needs assessment, help in the design of the prototype and do the final testing. The next step is to design the commercially successful product.
Since the project is small, it did not have separated budget lines. We estimate that 80% of alocated budget represents Human resources costs and 20% is material costs.
Evidence of success
Raised awareness of local community actors, that population aging is a main concern also in their local community. 10 new connections established between stakeholders from different sectors and the subject of elderly related technologies got place in their vision of the local development (1 regional action plan prepared). The potential of local tech and social SME/NGO was checked and informal actor's network was created. 6 thematic trainings for external experts abroad were organized.
In the test period, all respondents stated that they would much rather use a separate monitor. Connectivity problems, resistance to new technologies by end users. The luck of strong intends from the whole ecosystem and weak support of the local community are two main potential threats.
Potential for learning or transfer
The communication platform is developed till the working prototype phase. Local tech partner should customize (if needed) the prototype and prepare it for the production. There is intent that IPR can be leased or sold to the interested party. The most important condition is a well functioned ecosystem where local community, media, associations and other interested partners have a strong intend to enhance communication to the elderly living in the local community. The leading recipient should have good knowledge in the communication and information delivery. It is beneficiary if it is a well-known “body” in the local community with good brand name and trust. It has to have experience in the work with the elderly population. Last but not least: it has to have capacity to connect all actors working with elderly to the common goal.
Regions which are in the initial phase of introducing smart technologies of homecare can learn what kind of user interfaces elderly prefer.
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