Many technological solutions collide with a social context that is not prepared to welcome them, both in terms of personal predisposition but also of awareness of the potential of technology.
AIAS Bologna Onlus, has developed different types of complementary activities, with different levels of involvement, to bring older adults closer to technology.
The first initiative was user training in the SHAPES pilots. The aim was not only to make the pilot participants use the digital solutions but also to discuss the role of digital technologies for personal empowerment.
To stimulate learning and reflection on the role of the digital solution in the user’s everyday life, we set up periodic meetings to test and explain the technologies, where, taking their time, users had the opportunity to express their doubts and receive explanations, building a relationship of trust with the operator and working to progressively overcome the fear of making mistakes or not being able to use the devices due to unfamiliarity with the technology.
Considering the issue of the digital divide, we decided to extend this training process by establishing the Digital Helpdesk: a one-to-one support desk, located in our headquarters, for digital-related activities targeting older adults and people with disabilities. Parallel to the Digital Helpdesk, a more large-scale activity was designed and prototyped: the Digital Lounge.
These activities led to the establishment of the Co-design group, a community of older adults, involved in the SHAPES pilots and strengthened by the experimental and complementary activities that have made themselves available to test new technological solutions with the dual purpose of learning new skills and at the same time providing feedback in terms of usability, accessibility and use of digital solutions in their everyday life.
These experiences allowed us to learn several aspects of making technologies more accessible for older people.
The next step will be the establishment of the WeCareMore Demo and Activity centre in October 2023 in Bologna to bridge the gap between service providers, end users, technology developers and policy makers for a wider take up of person-centred technologies in integrated care.