Ageing in Place: the Role of Technology

Woman using a tablet

Current forecasts predict that, in line with increasing global populations and extended life expectancy, older adults will dominate the population structure.

To accommodate this demographic shift, governmental policies point to ‘ageing in place’ as key. This research explored the uptake of technology to support ‘ageing in place’ for older adults living in urban, semi-urban and rural communities. The research set out to identify both incentives and barriers to uptake of technology within four domains (medical, monitoring, mobility and social) at three built environment scales (home, street and neighbourhood) to support older adults to live independently in their community.

The results showed that whilst there are significant and justified concerns over the limitations of physical conditions to support ‘ageing in place’, most physical conditions along with age are not barriers to the uptake of technology, as uptake is high regardless of circumstances. However, it was also revealed that uptake is dependent on the following: level of training; if technology is shown to lead to increasing independence; includes a level of ‘enjoyment of use’; and does not replace existing physical relationships.

The research identified that there is limited research around the use of technology for either mobility or social activities outside the home; rather, research focus is concerned with medical monitoring in the home. Finally, research overlooks the role of geographic demographics to support ‘ageing in place’. The results of this research has implications for development of new policies to ‘ageing in place’.

Collaborators and funding

  • Julie Futcher, Urban Generation, London N1 3BU
  • Dr Federica Pascale, School of Engineering and the Built Environment, Anglia Ruskin University
  • Dr Alison Pooley, School of Engineering and the Built Environment, Anglia Ruskin University

This research was supported by the Positive Ageing Research Institute (PARI) and the School of Engineering and the Built Environment at Anglia Ruskin University.

Publications

Futcher, J., Pascale, F., Pooley, A., & Francis S., A., 2019. Current uptake of technology related to the built environment to support older adults to live independently in their community. Urban Planning, 4, pp70-82. DOI: 10.17645/up.v4i2.1919
www.cogitatiopress.com/urbanplanning/article/view/1919

For more information about this project please contact Dr Sally-Anne Francis: sally-anne.francis@anglia.ac.uk.