Technology to help at home

This blog was contributed by Dave Wright, Age UK’s Research Assistant.

Age UK has been working with Universities of Sheffield, St Andrews and Reading on a project called Challenging Obstacles and Barriers to Assistive Living Technologies (COBALT),  to understand why the adoption of assisted living technology by older people is so low. These technologies can be anything from pendant emergency alarms to blood pressure monitors and electric wheelchairs.

440x210_computer_man_white_apple_laptop_homeThe usual explanation is that older people just won’t use technology. However, this research project has gathered data from older people, health and social care professionals, and commissioners and come to different conclusions.

The study found that despite a wealth of information on inclusive design, some assistive living technology is still poorly designed and packaged with instructions that make them very hard to use. We have tried it on a range of people and found this applies to everyone, not just older people. So given good design, older people welcome technology provided they can see it will help them live their lives the way they want. Continue reading “Technology to help at home”

Guest blog: Virtually Dead – a new radio play

This guest blog was contributed by Liz Baker, who is currently a student of the M.A. in Writing course at Warwick University.

When, over quarter of a century ago, I watched my toddler niece teach my mother how to use a microwave, it set me thinking about the pace of change in our world, a pace so fast that toddlers quickly became teachers.

Liz Baker
Liz Baker

For children, everything is new so nothing is daunting, but for many adults born before the 1980s, adapting to the internet was – and still is – a big and scary change. In a few decades we have moved from sending first hesitant emails to using the internet to run our lives, do our shopping, find our loves and even manage our finances. Continue reading “Guest blog: Virtually Dead – a new radio play”

Guest blog – Meet one of our joint Internet Champions 2013

This blog was contributed by Janet Tchamani , 55, from Kings Heath, who was crowned joint Internet Champion of the Year in 2013.

I’m so proud and excited to be an Age UK joint Internet Champion! To be chosen for a role I believe in so strongly in puts a great big smile on my face. In this, my first blog for Age UK, I’ll be filling you in on my background and explaining what inspired me to get online.

Janet Tchamani and June Whitfield
Janet Tchamani and June Whitfield

One of the first things people find out about me is that I am bipolar. While I don’t let that define me, it is a fact that’s absolutely central to the story of my journey to becoming one of Age UK’s Internet Champions this year.

I was 50 when I was properly diagnosed, following a series of what I would call mini-breakdowns. I became unable to cope, lost my career and quite a bit more besides. That was when I found myself searching the internet for the first time, and eventually found my way to the brilliant Bipolar UK website. I already had a guiding light in Stephen Fry, one of the judges of the Internet Champion Awards. Continue reading “Guest blog – Meet one of our joint Internet Champions 2013”

Guest blog – Internet Champion of the Year 2013

This blog was contributed by Brenda O’Mulloy, 83, from Slough, who was crowned joint Internet Champion of the Year in 2012.

Internet Champion 2013
Left to right: Internet Champion, Brenda O’Mulloy; Actress, June Whitfield and Internet Champion, Keith Patterson.

As Age UK’s Internet Champion of 2012, it’s has been a fantastic year. There was the prestige of winning of course, followed by the whirlwind excitement of being broadcast live on BBC radio, speaking at high profile conferences and events and being interviewed by a variety of newspapers and magazines all with an aim of extolling the virtues of using the internet in later life.

At the age of 75 my son bought me a computer, hooked me up with Internet access and effectively changed my life.  After moving away from my friends and family and the passing of my husband, I found I had no friends locally, my family lived 200 miles away and I felt cut off.  The computer was a real lifeline.  It enabled me to stay connected, initially I started off by sending emails but gradually this evolved to include Facebook, Skype and MSN Messenger. Continue reading “Guest blog – Internet Champion of the Year 2013”