“Listen to people concerned by innovation!”:
SHAPES takes up the challenge
“What if us, older people, stopped the work we are doing voluntarily, just for one day? Then maybe society would realise how big our contribution is!”. Joke, an older woman from AGE Platform Europe’s member Older Women’s Network in the Netherlands, is passionate about challenging the prejudices many hold against older people and ageing. “When I turned 75 I discovered my insurance price had increased. I hadn't had a single accident over the decades! It changed just because of my age. For older people society uses the word 'still'. 'Can she still drive?', 'Can she still go out?'. Avoid it please!".
Joke shared her experience of ageing at our 4th online Dialogue Workshop, which we organised on 26 October. Under the title “Diversity and empowerment: understanding the realities of older people”, we exposed the challenges, hopes and wishes of the people SHAPES strives to deliver positive impact for. Well-attended by over 100 participants, the workshop was fully accessible for people with deafblindness and had simultaneous interpretation into Spanish, German and Italian.
Like Joke, Mark Wheatley from the European Union of the Deaf called on addressing the challenges people face as we age: "Barriers that deaf people face as they age are even bigger. To address them, ask older people themselves: their experiences, their issues. Work with them! Social isolation is a huge problem – and we need to tackle it”. Sanja Tarczay, from the World Federation of the Deafblind, insisted on the importance of ending invisibility and taboos around ageing and disability: “Many people ignore the reality of deafblindness. They ignore even more the barriers as we age with deafblindness. As we grow older, there is no enough support available. And 2/3 of deafblind people are older!".
We planned our workshop as a timely moment to ensure a genuine dialogue with older people and people with disabilities. We shared our #SHAPESstories, which are part of our efforts to know the people we are working for. And had the chance to discuss with research and policy partners that can work with us to improve the quality of life of older people through innovation and partnerships.
“We are working hard with our partners to make sure we close the potential gaps between the realities of older people and the technologies we design”, said Maciej Kucharczyk, Secretary-General of AGE Platform Europe, lead organiser of the workshop. “Let’s call our own thoughts and attitudes into question to make sure what we do and say helps everyone live as equals!”. A challenge SHAPES is taking up.
The organizers of the 4th SHAPES Dialogue Workshop
AGE Platform Europe, Belgium