CommunityNet: Mediating Care at the Local Community Level

  • Bas Stroomer
  • Martijn H. Vastenburg
  • David V. Keyson
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 7040)


Community care is expected to be increasingly important for seniors in need of support towards prolonged independent living and higher quality of life. Whereas people generally indicate they are willing to provide support within their community, several barriers prevent elderly people from asking for support. The present paper describes the design of CommunityNet, a social network service that aims to bring together the local community and to lower the barriers towards asking for help. Based on the findings from user research, ambient awareness displays were developed and placed in the homes of seniors and local community members. The awareness displays showed an overview of the people, their requests for help, and the status of the requests. The concept was evaluated in a field trial (n=4, 10 days). The participants indicated that they preferred using CommunityNet compared to face-to-face contact and telephone when the need for support was not urgent. According to the participants, the barriers towards asking for help were lowered by the system. As a next step, an automated match-maker mechanism will be developed which enables people to extend their care network, and the system will be tested in a range of communities.


Independent living community care social network awareness display communication system peer-to-peer field trial 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Vermeulen, J.: Langer zelfstandig wonen en hoe ICT daarbij kan helpen. PhD Thesis, University of Tilburg, The Netherlands (2006)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Consolvo, S., Roessler, P., Shelton, B.E., LaMarca, A., Schilit, B., Bly, S.: Technology for Care Networks of Elders. IEEE Pervasive Computing Mobile & Ubiquitous Systems: Successful Aging 3(2), 22–29 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Foth, M.: Facilitating Social Networking in Inner-City Neighborhoods. Computer 39(9), 44–50 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Wherton, J., Prendergast, D.: The Building Bridges Project: Involving Older Adults in the Design of a Communication Technology to Support Peer-to-Peer Social EngagementGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Rowan, J., Mynatt, E.D.: Digital family portrait field trial: Support for aging in place. In: Proc. CHI 2005, pp. 521–530. ACM, New York (2005)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Consolvo, S., Roessler, P., Shelton, B.E.: The CareNet Display: Lessons Learned from an In Home Evaluation of an Ambient Display. In: Davies, N., Mynatt, E.D., Siio, I. (eds.) UbiComp 2004. LNCS, vol. 3205, pp. 1–17. Springer, Heidelberg (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Dickinson, A., Newell, A.F., Smith, M.J., Hill, R.L.: Introducing the Internet to the over- 60s: Developing an email system for older novice computer users. Interacting with Computers 17(6), 621–642 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Inoue, M., Suyama, A., Takeuchi, Y., Meshitsuka, S.: Application of a computer based education system for aged persons and issues arising during the field test. Computer Methods and Progress in Biomedicine 59(1), 55–60 (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Docampo Rama, M.: Technology Generations Handling Complex User Interfaces. PhDThesis, Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands (2001)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Sleeswijk Visser, F., Stappers, P.J., van der Lugt, R., Sanders, E.B.-N.: Contextmapping: Experiences from practice. Codesign 1(2), 119–149 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bas Stroomer
    • 1
  • Martijn H. Vastenburg
    • 1
  • David V. Keyson
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Industrial Design EngineeringDelft University of TechnologyDelftThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations