Independence Matters

Independence Matters

Independence Matters is a joint, design-led collaboration between the Technology Strategy Board and the Design Council. It will support the creation of new design and technology-led solutions developed within the social context of the lives of older adults.

Enabling older adults to live longer in their own home is a particularly pressing issue. Over 65s will make up almost a quarter (23%) of the UK population by 2034, according to the Office for National Statistics, and by 2025, almost 1.5 million people in the UK will be living with an age-related disability.

The £2m programme will run over the next two years and draw upon the expertise and skills of business, the talents of top designers, the knowledge and experience of third sector organisations, the wishes and aspirations of older adults and the ’know-how’ of younger more technologically aware generations. The following two themes have been identified for specific activity.

Keeping Connected

This theme will generate innovative solutions to help people to live independently for longer. How can we bridge the gap between ‘old tech’ (e.g. telephone and television) and ‘new tech’ (e.g. computer hardware, firmware and services) to combat isolation and loneliness? How can we support our older population in terms of bridging distance, ensuring their safety, enhancing their sense of security, as well as promoting independence and wellbeing in a variety of settings? How can we bring generations, friends and family together on a regular basis and in a way which benefits older adults?

Home and Away

This theme will harness the creativity and information technology ability of young people, along with the life experience and needs of older adults, to generate designs for technology enabled systems and services that improve quality of life, and in the process enable young people to engage with older adults, and with designers and industry. If older people spend 70% of their time indoors, how can we use design and technology to support improvement of systems and services for mobility in their local communities? How can older people maintain and build their social networks both in the context of the home and within the wider community? If 1 million older adults aged 65+ in the UK are malnourished, how can we use design and technology to create systems and services for better health and wellbeing?

Photography by Giulio Mazzarini for the Design Council

Last updated on Thursday 08 September 2011 at 23:19

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