According to the EU's 2012 ageing report, the age profile of Europe is expected to change dramatically in the coming decades. It shows that the overall population of Europe will increase only moderately by 2060 (517 million, up from 502 million in 2010). Whilst the share of those aged 15-64 is projected to decline from 67% to 56%, the share of those aged 65 or over is projected to increase from 17% to 30%. The ageing population will pose significant challenges for the economies and welfare systems across Europe.
The I-stay@home project (ICT Solutions for an ageing society) was conceived from this information and looked to investigate how information communication technology (ICT) can support elderly and disabled people against future challenges such as isolation, security, disability, health, financial hardship and independent living. Information community technologies can be best described as the use of computers to store, retrieve, and transmit information.
Nine housing associations, two universities and four technical companies across France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and the UK came together to undertake this research on a pan European level. The Project was part funded by Interreg IVB of the European Regional Development Fund for a period of three years and ended in 2015.
The project was divided into four phases. Phase one involved primary research into the challenges tenants face on a day to day basis and their views on the role of technology as a tool to mitigate the impact of ageing.
Phase two involved the collection and evaluation of ICT solutions across North-Western Europe. All products and corresponding evaluation scores were made available to tenants and the public through a project catalogue.
In phase three, housing associations tested several ICT solutions in tenants’ homes via a transnational platform. The testing phase lasted twelve months.
The project was then evaluated in phase four, where it reported on the overall effectiveness of ICT solutions as a tool for improving and maintaining the quality of life of the elderly and/or disabled people across Northwest Europe.