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Why AgeingBetter funders and policy makers should embrace digital technology - some resources
Summary: digital technology is increasingly important for Living Well in the Digital Age. Here's suggestions on why funders and policy makers should review existing resources.
There was lively discussion on Twitter last week about why the Centre for Ageing Better's consultation strategy has no mention of technology and digital innovation.
I'm drafting a blog post on the topic, and asked the Centre, and Big Lottery Fund who are providing a £50 million endowment, for some comments. In doing that it seems only fair to offer some ideas on why technology may be important to funders and policy makers, so I've rapidly pulled together some resources from our exploration into Ageing Better and Living Well in the Digital Age. More suggestions welcome.
I suggest that researchers, funders and policy makers in the ageing field would benefit from reviewing these issues and resources:
- To avoid re-inventing the wheel in commisioning research or funding activities
- To identify opportunities for collaboration
- To shape their policy recommendations
The internet and digital technology affects all or us - for good or ill - and it is important to understand why.
See Baroness Lane-Fox for a positive view of the Internet, Andrew Keen and other sceptics for the downsides. Review our exploration into Ageing Better Innovation, and the resources we have gathered. The SEEFA symposium shows how people in the ageing field view technology.
Government departments are embedding digital technology in service transformations that will affect older people
The Department for Communities and Local Government has used older people and ageing as the first area to explore in digital service transformation and engagement. Cabinet Office is promoting innovation. Local services will become digital.
Older people and those who provide support are adopting technology
Organisations providing direct services in the ageing field find technology a hot topic. Older people will expect those serving their needs to be engaged as well.
- In The Silver Economy: Tech sector taps surge of connected boomers the Financial Times reports on growing adoption of the Internet by over-54s, the social networks they use, and the tools that are available.
- The MyAgeingParent site has an extensive section on the best technology for older people, covering devices, apps, and safety online.
- The SilverSurfers network also has a technology section
- AgeUK explains how to make the most of the Internet
- Social media is beneficial to well-being - Guardian reports
### Digital technology will be increasingly important for health, wellbeing and social care
Service innovation, the drive for cost savings, and consumer interest will make digital innovation increasingly important.
- Tony Watts, a writer and chair of the SouthWest Forum on Ageing, explains in his keynote to the Ages 2.0 conference how integrating digital innovation for healthcare, and actions to support digital innovation, could have dual benefits.
- The Campaign to End Loneliness ran a workshop: Technology: will it ever be a ‘fix’ for loneliness that yielded advice on helping older people adopt technology that might be helpful, and a report that included a range of tools and activities.
- The Connecting Care project provides tech advice for social care providers and also a round-up of specialist personal care networks and tools.
Organisations in the ageing field need help
Discussion at the SEEFA symposium in January 2015 confirmed that many organisations in the ageing field are failing to engage with digital technology - partly through lack of skills, and partly because of cultural attitudes
Digital technology will be increasingly important in local initiatives
Local councils and partnerships will this year be faced with the growing challenge of deciding what technology solutions to develop and promote for care, health and wellbeing in their community.
Innovation funders provide resources that other funders could adopt
- The Nominet Trust has compiled the Social Tech Guide “to recognise the pioneers who are using digital technology to make a real difference to millions of lives”, including a section on health.
If you have further suggestions on why digital technology is important in this field, and/or resources, please send to David Wilcox firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet @davidwilcox, or comment.