Original language: German
Peter Enste has been a researcher at the Institute for Work and Technology since 2006. His focus is on gerontology, health-related research and demographic change. He and Sebastian Merkel make up the German project team “AcTive”. Sebastian Merkel has worked at the Institute for Work and Technology since 2009 with research focus on health industries and quality of life. He is coordinator of the strategic partnership “AcTive”.
The targeted use of modern technologies can support active and healthy ageing in a meaningful way. As part of this process, technology can be used in various areas: The video-chat function of tablet PCs enables communication with relatives and friends over long distances; e-book readers make it possible to access the online offers of libraries in multiple regions; intelligent alarm systems can recognise falls in the home and initiate the help process; telemedical applications enable blood pressure readings to be sent by smartphone directly to one’s GP.
These are just a few examples which show how a self-determined life in old age can be supported by the use of technology. The fact is, however, that to date many older people have made only limited use of modern technology, in particular information and communications technology (ICT). The causes are various; one central aspect can be traced to the lack of experience, or only limited experience, in the use of ICT. Many older people among today’s senior generations didn’t come into contact with computers or other similar technologies during their lives, so making a start at an advanced age is no easy task. Either many of the available products and their possibilities are unfamiliar or the operation of them is perceived as being too complex. The products often fail to meet the needs of older people, which makes it difficult to integrate the technology into their living environments. Older people complain about the lack of a support network to deal with questions and problems. Relatives are often not in the position to fulfil this function regularly and at short notice.
As part of the Erasmus+-Project "AcTive" training materials are developed which promote the technological competence of older people (e.g. for smartphones, alarm systems). Fundamental questions about the use of such technology, and helpful practical examples, should be shown in order to illustrate the gains that can be had in everyday life. The training material is being tested with older people in the participating countries Germany, France, Poland, Spain and Romania, and continually optimised. By autumn 2018 an online platform should be in place where the developed training material will be made available. The material can thus be used by interested older people or their relatives. An initial version of the online platform will soon be activated.
We are happy to answer questions about the project.