by William Barker, Head of ICT Strategy and Futures at DCLG
Nearly every day we are told we are facing the challenges of an ageing society. At the same time we are reminded that we are living longer, healthier and will increasingly be able to tap into the countless benefits of the digital revolution.
So with that in mind The Department for Communities and Local Government's (DCLG) Grey Cells initiative has been working with the Government Digital Service (GDS), Government Office for Science, Loughborough University and the Age Action Alliance to look at how digital technology can support older people to continue to maintain their independence and be valued members of our wider society.
Building on Loughborough University's SUs-IT's 'Falling-off the Bandwagon' study, looking at the experiences of 1,000 older people on how best to stay independent and connected, DCLG and GDS have been mapping local digital inclusion-themed projects to identify those that could help older people and that might be ready for wider adoption.
Earlier this year DCLG hosted a policy into practice workshop bringing together GDS, policy makers, practitioners and researchers to share the latest SUs-IT research findings, learning and experience, and to gather new insights and ideas. But the story does not end there. In July, the DCLG and Government Office for Science hosted a "Digital Connectivity for Older People" strategic roundtable to start the process of identifying the essential pre-conditions for mapping out a 'Digital Connectivity model' built around current and emerging solutions and new thinking.
The next step is to start to build this model in association with the Transformation Network looking at the wide range of case studies, research projects and local initiatives that are not just enabling older people to connect but also helping them to play an active role in shaping the way services and solutions can support their independence and well-being.
Want to find out more? Then look at the Grey Cells-resource pack and follow the links to what we have found is going on from combatting isolation, to safety in the home, to providing online support for people with dementia and their carers and emerging solutions that offer a fast track to local information about help and support to keep people independent and active.
This article was first published on the Public Service Transformation Network