Devices and Desires: Identifying the Acceptability of AT to Older People
There is now a vigorous body of opinion that has recognised both the major demographic transitions that have taken, and continue to take, place in most countries in the world, and the ways in which the design of both products and the built environment can either aggravate or ameliorate the impact of some of the disabling conditions that come with ageing (Clarkson et al, 2003). Furthermore, there is recognition of the fundamental importance of research with older users, and of understanding the interaction between individual and environment or “technology” in its broadest sense. This chapter reports on a component of a multi-disciplinary research project that was concerned with the introduction and use of a wide range of AT* in existing (older) housing occupied by older people. The main aims of the research were, in conjunction with ten housing partners, to investigate the feasibility and cost of introducing AT in relation, on the one hand, to user needs and, on the other, to the age, type and standard of property. However, the extent to which AT can narrow the gap between the home environment and individual capacity, depends upon the willingness of older people to use AT. If AT is to be introduced on any significant scale to support care in the community of older people, it must be easy and effective to use, and be positively welcomed by older people themselves. A key element in the research was therefore to explore with older people their use and experience of a range of AT.
KeywordsAssistive Technology Housing Association Older People Smoke Alarm Sheltered Housing
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