Knowledge Exchange Seminar Series (KESS)

14 March 2018: Using Technology in Social Care

Professor Shailey Minocha, Dr Ana-Despina Tudor, Dr Duncan Banks, Dr Caroline Holland and Ms Catherine McNulty (The Open University, UK), Mr Rohit Ail (Samsung UK), Mrs Jane Palmer (Age UK Milton Keynes) and Mrs Sue Bowering (Carers MK) – Role of digital health wearables in the wellbeing and quality of life of older people and carers

The number of adults aged 65 and over has increased by 2% across Europe in the past 15 years, and in Northern Ireland by 22% between 2003-2013. The proportion of the population in this age group is projected to increase by 63% to just under 0.5 million by 2033 – which will be a quarter of the population in Northern Ireland. Given Northern Ireland’s Active Ageing Strategy (2015-2021), there is an increasing focus on encouraging physical activity as we get older to preserve mobility and motor skills, and to enjoy the benefits of living longer and to minimise health problems associated with ageing. Over the last two years, we have been investigating the role of wearable activity tracking technologies in self-monitoring of activity by people aged over 55. Example technologies include activity trackers from Fitbit, Garmin and Samsung, and smart watches. Typically, these devices record steps walked, sleep patterns, calories

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Dr Hannah R. Marston (OU), Dr Shannon Freeman (University of Northern British Columbia, Canada), Dr Rebecca Genoe (University of Regina, Canada), Dr Cory Kulcyzki (University of Regina, Canada) and Dr Charles Musselwhite (Swansea University) – The Cohesiveness of Technology in Later Life: Findings from the Technology In Later Life (TILL) Project

Statistics show Northern Ireland (NI) ageing population (65+ years) has increased between 1974 (11.2%) to 2014 (15.5%). Estimated projections suggest this will reach 24.7% by 2039. Currently, 35,500 people are aged 85+ years, 12,200 (90-99 years) and it is estimated there are 280 centenarians (NISRA, 2016). The use and deployment of technology can assist in social connectedness reducing isolation, online shopping/bills, information acquisition, physical activity and maintaining intergenerational relationships. Between 2014/15, 69% of adults (60-69 years) had access to the Internet, unlike 40% of adults aged 70+ years; moreover, 82% of adults 60+ years owned a mobile phone. Understanding how technology can play an integral role in the lives of older adults has demonstrated the positive perceptions and behaviour to independent living. Literature, focusing on adults aged >70 years living in rural and urban areas, relating to technology use, behaviour and perception is limited. This presentation concerns the international, multi-centred

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Dr Verina Waights (OU), Prof Panos Bamidis (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece) and Ms Rosa Almeida (Fundacion Intras, Spain) – Technologies for care – the imperative for upskilling carers

Ageing populations, coupled with increasing retirement ages and lower ratios of workers to retirees, are negatively impacting health and social care. Currently, 11.8% of Northern Ireland (NI) residents are carers, but it is predicted that by 2025 the number of people aged over 65 will increase by 42%, with the number of people aged over 80 doubling by 2027.  These projections place increasing demands on carers, especially when considered within the ‘changing ethos of health care in NI’ towards a self-management model. Carers increasingly use the internet to find health information, yet worldwide a significant number of people lack health literacy skills and/or digital skills. The EU-funded DISCOVER project involved over 650 carers, care workers and stakeholders in co-designing and co-producing an online learning platform to enhance carers’ and care workers’ health literacy, digital skills and caring skills. Engaging with DISCOVER also enabled carers to share concerns and supportive practices

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