There has been a ‘revolution’ in the way that digital and online technologies, communications and media have influenced our daily lives over the past few decades. However, the same cannot be said for the role of digital and technology in care, health and housing – especially in relation to older people. Despite many promising trials, pilot studies and short-term initiatives, there are few examples of widespread innovation or integration when it comes to the use of technology to aid an ageing population. We are supporting the Housing Learning and Improvement Network (LIN) to collate information and learning on this topic, laying the foundations for a set of principles which will showcase how best to achieve transformational change in the delivery of technology-enabled care.
The needs, challenges and aspirations of older and disabled people will be at the core of the project findings.
Using past experience to tackle an important new topic
The Housing LIN’s 25,000+ members comprise public sector commissioners, planners and housing providers and increasingly private investors and developers. Together they represent a cross-sector network, recognised as a leading ‘knowledge hub’ on specialist housing and innovative solutions for an ageing population. In 2009 the Housing LIN published the first inquiry report by the Housing our Ageing Population Panel for Innovation (HAPPI) – containing exemplary case studies and key recommendations for the design of high-quality housing for older people. Since then, four further HAPPI reports have been published, each using an inquiry-based approach to focus on topics including the housing options available to older people after retirement, the requirements of older people living in rural areas, and the needs of older renters.
TAPPI will draw upon the learning from previous HAPPI inquiries, employing the same methodologies to focus on the topic of digital and technological solutions in housing and care. A TAPPI Inquiry Panel, chaired by Professor Roy Sandbach OBE – Professor of Practice in Ageing Science and Innovation at the University of Newcastle – and made up of leading figures from housing, care, academia, the tech industry and design, has been convened and will be responsible for overseeing the project. They will hold a series of panel discussions with people with specific insights and expertise in this area (e.g. older people, people with disabilities, those in the construction industry, specialists in ‘smart’ technology and housing), alongside visits to sites and organisations who are current leaders in technological transformation.
Sharing the findings
Resulting from this will be a ‘proof of concept’ report that collates the panel’s learning and exemplar case studies, demonstrating the effective use of digital and technological solutions – whilst also considering both the factors that facilitate their successful integration, and the barriers that prevent widespread beneficial change. And importantly, the needs, challenges and aspirations of older and disabled people will be at the core of the project findings.
The report will also set out an ambition for a further, full TAPPI inquiry. This, it is hoped, would lead to the creation of a downloadable resource for housing and care organisations and commissioners – a potential ‘roadmap’ to achieve integrated, system-wide transformation in this area – and a new set of TAPPI principles which define what ‘good’ looks like when it comes to employing digital and technology in the care of older people.
For more information contact Lois Beech, Secretariat to the TAPPI Inquiry Panel, Housing LIN: firstname.lastname@example.org