The report on digital technology in later life, in sections
Overall theme: Digital technology will be significant for everyone later in life - and a lot of older people may be excluded from the benefits.
Theme 1. Developing personal and community use of digital technology can help us feel valued and valuable.
Theme 2. Changing circumstances and transitions in later life may be times when digital technology is most valuable.
Theme 3. New and less confident users of digital technology need continuing support.
Theme 4. Better sharing of knowledge, experience and resources could foster innovation.
Theme 5 Co-designing with a clear purpose will improve usability and relevance of digital technology later in life.
Provocation 1. Look at personal needs and interests as well as common motivations - one digital size wont fit all. While there are general benefits at any time of life in using digital technology - whether for entertainment, shopping, learning, information - everyone has different priorities and these will be shaped by life experience and current circumstances. The best way to engage people is to start where they are, the particular interests they have developed, and the personal challenges they face.
Provocation 2 Build on past experience with familiar technology as well as offering new devices - they may do the job. New devices can be challenging, and recent developments of familiar equipment may offer an easier route for some. Smart TVs and smartphones may provide whats needed without learning to use a computer.
Provocation 3. Consider the new life skills and access people will need as technology changes our world - using technology is ceasing to be optional. Public services are becoming digital by default, and new opportunities for employment require at least an email address. It will be important to make the use of digital technology as accessible and easy as possible - or encourage people to act as proxies in helping make the connection with the online world.
Provocation 4. Turn the challenge of learning about technology into a new social opportunity - and make it fun. Learning how to use digital technology can challenging. It takes time, and having someone to help can be important. Loneliness and isolation are a big challenge for some later in life. By getting together so learning becomes a social experience we can achieve benefits on both fronts, and enjoy the experience as well.
Provocation 5. See digital technology for later in life as a major market - co-designing with users could offer wider relevance. On the one hand people are living and remaining active longer, and on the other hand facing a wide range of health and social challenges for longer. This will provide a growing market among older people, and an opportunity to design and test technologies for relevance and usability with any users than have diverse interests and capabilities.
Provocation 6. Address social isolation and other challenges through a blend of online and offline - they dont need to be different worlds. Digital technology can enable virtual friendships that lead to meetings, support social learning, and underpin projects for new forms of sharing both on the physical world and online. The greatest benefits may come from blending face-to-face and online activities.
Provocation 7. Enable carers and care services - both for direct use of technology and to act as proxies. More could be achieved by integrating digital technology into services, and supporting carers in their use of technology. This will be increasingly important as older people who are not connected may require proxy helpers to use online public services.
Provocation 8. Use digital technologies to enhance existing connections of family and friends - and help each other learn. Free video calls, photo-sharing, email, texting and the use of social networking sites are part of day-to-day communications with family and friends for many people later in life. Family members can help each other learn about digital technologies.
Provocation 9. Value the role that older people may have in acting as digital technology champions - and providing long term support.Older people know the challenges of using technology later in life, and may be best at providing the continuing support needed for its adoption. Demonstrations and short courses are seldom enough.
Provocation 10. Look for ideas among those providing digital training and support - and help them realise them. Those working directly with users of digital technology will have insights into what works, and where development would be valuable. With some support they could turn ideas into projects.