Getting and Keeping Aged People Socially Included
EasyReach is an Ambient Assisted Living Joint Programme project aimed at fostering the social interaction of home-bound and less educated elderly people. The project proposed a web interfaced service, accessed through the EasyReach DTT Set Top Box and a special remote control, equipped with interactive multimedia and an inertial unit. Pilots were carried out in the Italian cities of Rome and Milan by engaging real end-users in the controlled development of tasks. In the pilot conducted in Rome and described in this paper, data were collected by using both group and personal interviews, video recording and non-participant observations. Scenario engagement with realistic tasks was properly arranged.
In general, results show that EasyReach turns out to benefit people who stay at home or live alone, especially disabled people and those who are sick. The need to stay in touch is a primary driver for most, if not all, of the questioned elderly people. Retirement from active working life is a turning point in their lives and the feeling of being left at the margins of society often appears with different implications.
EasyReach is accepted as a way of spending the day and meeting friends, as well as to contact people one would not encounter otherwise, to join groups having the same interests and actively participating in social life. Sending messages can help sharing information and interests. Yet elderly people want more, asking to bridge the gap between them and public administrations, pension systems, healthcare, social services, emergency providers and similar.
Keywordsacceptance adoption aged people ambient assisted living behavioral change digital divide digital environment e-inclusion elderly human computer interaction human factors innovation isolation resistance to change scenario engagement social inclusion supported interaction usage user needs
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