Don’t give up!

By Evert-Jan Hoogerwerf, Entelis Partner AIAS 

I guess sooner or later all people experience a certain fatigue towards new technological developments. “Uffa”, the Italians say, “I just got used to my new operating system and there is already a new version out”. This, what I would like to call the “Uffa-syndrome”, is probably strongest with non ICT engineers or other “weirdies” in their early sixties, the first ICT-generation. However understandable this might be, digital skills are nevertheless to be considered core skill for functioning and participation, now and in the future. A report published in 2012 by a group of experts for the European Commission under the title Can Technology-based Services support Long-term Care Challenges in Home Care highlights among the key success factors for the development and implementation of ICT-based services for informal care:  “The involvement of end-users, including carers, elderly people and formal care staff, as active players in the design of services, complemented by training in digital and care services competences.” (page 77). Also other success factors point at the active participation of care recipients and their skilled use of the technology available to support their independence and self-management.  Clearly millions of Euros invested in assistive solutions for active and independent aging can be wasted if there is no comprehensive strategy to raise interest among senior citizens for digital skills and for ICT-enabled participation. Such a strategy should not be based on scaring people with economic disaster scenarios about the sustainability of care, but on making people aware of alternative and additional opportunities to enjoy social contacts, to participate in discussions and to feel safe. If the impact on the quality of life is sufficiently highlighted and training is delivered in an appropriate manner, we might be some hope that people don’t give up!

Now, don’t ask me… “What is appropriate”? “Appropriate” is an English word that can be used in any circumstance to say that you need some more time for research and thinking.