History

I-stay@home project closes successfully with conference in Brussels

8/24/2015

Unbelievable, but true. The I-stay@home project is already at its end. Results were presented during the final conference at the Representation of the Free State of Bavaria to the EU in Brussels on 24 June 2015.

About 100 participants accepted the invitation and project partners demonstrated how much participants benefitted from the experience. The highlight of the day was the new I-stay@home video documentary that was produced with the help of participating tenants and project partners.

The documentary and the presentation both made clear that elderly people would indeed be willing to use technology for their support, as long as they have some curiousity or interest in it. However, a basic problem is still that people are not aware that technical devices could offer assistance in their home. There is still a lack of knowledge about this kind of support and in particular that there are already affordable solutions on the market that could easily be installed in dwellings. Small or cheap devices can already make a big difference in residents’ lives.Therefore, ICT solutions can be an important third option of care working alongside informal and formal care, but can and should never replace formal and informal care.

Housing organisations learned during the project that they are a suitable facilitator for introducing technology to elderly tenants. However, when introducing technology, it is important to consider offering a stable support network consisting of professionals, family or friends to ensure a smooth installation process and to make the user feels comfortable with the technology. During the project, participants appreciated meeting other testers so they could exchange experiences, tips and tricks in handling the products. Some participants even built friendships in the neighbourhood beyond the project.
Within an appropriate framework, such as the one developed during the project, participants confirmed that technology can contribute to their and/or their relatives’ quality of life.

The partnership also developed an ICT-platform with the aim to facilitate the usability of technical devices for elderly people. Participants liked the social functions such as the virtual “notice board” for the neighbourhood. Participants found that using the technical devices was easy for them after getting used to them, so platform’s centralising function and more accessible interface turned out to be unnecessary.

Over the four years of the project, the environment for technical support for people in their dwellings slowly developed and improved. Furthermore, analysis of participants indicated that the target group for assisting technology appears to be quite broad. That means, age, origin, gender or physical impairments are irrelevant for people accepting this kind of support and for people benefitting from technology. Nevertheless, use of technology in the home still lacks suitable funding opportunities from the state to stimulate growth in the market, and to make it more attractive so that more people can benefit from this kind of support.

In terms of continuing the I-stay@home approach, each housing organisation within the consortium will find its own solution as they have to consider the political environments in their countries, company policies and other individual factors. One frequently considered solution was a partnership with external technical or social organisation which would take care of the technical devices and any necessary support. The housing organisation would act as agent in this scenario, implementing solutions provided by outside companies.

For complete information about the project, you can download the final publication discussing all phases of the project and our findings in greater detail.
Research, testing and experiences of I-stay@home 2015
Furthermore, you can watch the I-stay@home documentary with English subtitles here or on the starting page!