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dtlater:introduction [2017/06/12 10:20] (current)
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 +# Introduction and research summaries ​
 +### Exploring the potential of digital technology in later life
 +This paper explores how we can use and develop digital technologies to
 +prepare for and enjoy later life. It brings together past research, and
 +the results of a wide-ranging process to gather experience and ideas
 +from those in the field, undertaken through a workshop and online
 +discussion. We hope the paper and background resources will be useful to
 +anyone seeking to develop projects, and also help those working in the
 +field to see what others are doing. One of the key finding from our
 +exploration was that thinkers, those in support services, and the
 +technically adept were not well connected. We hope this paper will help
 +create some shared understanding.
 +We have used the term digital technology later in life rather than
 +simply older people using digital technology because a strong messages
 +is that older isnt a very useful perspective on its own. The ways that
 +people from 55 to 90-plus may use technology is very diverse - and has
 +far more to do with their personal interests and circumstances than
 +their age.
 +However, in some ways the lessons in designing and using digital
 +technology are similar to those earlier in life. For example, in
 +comparing our findings with those from the Digital Edge exploration into
 +young people using technology we identified the importance of starting
 +where people are at; co-designing with users; and encouraging
 +peer-to-peer support.
 +Differences in the use of technology in later life do, of course, arise
 +because as we get older we may be less able mentally or physically; we
 +may have different experiences that inform how we address new learning
 +opportunities,​ and may not have used technology in education or work in
 +ways that are becoming the norm for younger people.
 +We may be unwilling to share personal information and activities with
 +strangers on social networks, be anxious about the security of our
 +data - or simply wary of handling computers and digital devices. There
 +are real barriers and challenges - of which perhaps the greatest is the
 +point? And one benefit of age is the wisdom to resist its good for you.
 +So if we do believe that there are benefits in helping people use
 +digital technology later in life, we have to recognise that as we get
 +older we may be different in far more ways than we are the same. We have
 +different life histories, families, friends and interests that we have
 +developed along the way and thats where the opportunities arise, if we
 +are prepared to realise them. Julia Unwin CBE, Chief Executive of the
 +Joseph Rowntree Foundation, writing about Why we must celebrate - not
 +ignore ageing, said:
 +-   we need to hear from people who are themselves older, understand
 +    their very different experiences,​ and start to think much more
 +    honestly, and much more creatively, about the ways in which we want
 +    to shape a good old age, both for ourselves as individuals and as
 +    society.
 +-   An ageing society can be one that values difference, and recognises
 +    the very rich and different contribution that we will all be able to
 +    make. An ageing society can be one that uses all the skills,
 +    experience and talents of all of us as we age. It would recognise
 +    that older age is not only about loss, there are rewards and
 +    excitement too. It would therefore be a society that is better for
 +    all of us. It would be one in which frailty is no longer equated
 +    with powerlessness,​ dependence no longer seen as weakness. If we
 +    start to see growing old as an important and natural transition in
 +    our own lives, we will also be able to build a society that makes
 +    this transition in a just, considered and creative way. Such a
 +    society will be able to respond to the changing needs of all parts
 +    of its population, without hiding behind lazy stereotypes and
 +    prejudice. It will structure policies and practice that meet the
 +    needs of real people, not just imagined nightmares.
 +While Julia Unwins analysis is not specifically about the role that
 +technology can play, it sets the tone for the approach that we are
 +advocating here - using later life as a lens through which to review
 +what sort of life any of us would wish for - and the ways in which
 +technology can help.
 +While acknowledging the continuing challenge of digital inclusion -
 +providing online access and support - we are not primarily concerned
 +here with how to achieve government aims to achieve digital by default
 +in the use of public services. We do however look at some of the issues
 +this raises for individuals,​ and hope that insights from the exploration
 +will open additional ways to engage people with digital technology.
 +Nor have we sought to cover the substantial field of telecare, and the
 +means by which technologies can help those of us who are becoming frail
 +remain longer in our homes. The issues of how care services can better
 +use digital technology is the subject of a paper by Shirley Ayres,
 +published by Nominet Trust: Can online innovations enhance social
 +care? The main focus here is on how individuals might best use digital
 +technology later in life; how friends, relatives and others can help;
 +the importance of learning together and how the social uses of
 +technology are particularly valuable.
 +### Technology in Later Life: The good, the bad, the frustrating and the exhilarating ​
 +The forum on Gransnet, set up and summarised by Geraldine Bedell for our
 +exploration,​ brought alive the day to day experience of older people
 +using technology: the good, the bad, the frustrating and the
 +exhilarating. These experiences and the issues they raise have been
 +reviewed in light of wider consultation and future research and are
 +distilled here into 10 provocations that can act as talking points and
 +possibly as a focus for project development and investment. The
 +reference material for each of these is provided for further information
 +and deeper exploration.
 +But provoking new ideas isnt sufficient if we are to develop better ways
 +to support the use of digital technology in later life. There is so much
 +excellent work to build on that in addition to these provocations we
 +have developed some themes that are important to consider in responding
 +to these challenges. Its only a start though. Indeed there are many
 +other themes that could be developed because we found the exploration to
 +be more about technology and life, than technology for older people.
 +[Reference for this introduction on Storify - and embedded
 + [Key research findings and other references on Storify - and embedded
 + [View the story “Introduction:​ exploring digital technology in later
 +life” on Storify](//​​dtlater/​introduction)\
 + [View the story “Key findings and reference for technology for later in
 +life” on
dtlater/introduction.txt · Last modified: 2017/06/12 10:20 (external edit)