Fit for purpose
Fit for purpose
Globally, older people have tended to be relatively slow adopters of ICTs. As services and facilities are increasingly delivered online, concerns about the implications for social inclusion and participation have spawned many initiatives aimed at encouraging older peoples' digital engagement. However little attention has been paid to whether and how their usage can be sustained over time. This chapter describes the research undertaken in the Sus-IT project, which sought to address this gap. The aims were to examine older people’s use of information and communication technologies (ICTs), to identify the factors which can prevent or promote sustained use, and to explore solutions to support sustained use. A participatory, mixed methods approach was adopted, and around 1000 older ICT users were involved in the research. The findings show that while many older people are enthusiastic, competent and confident users of ICTs, they also report a range of challenges in reaching and maintaining this position. These include technological complexity and change, age-related capability changes and a lack of appropriate learning and support mechanisms. Intrinsic motivation and social support are important in enabling older people to overcome these challenges. The important implications of the findings for policy and practice are discussed.
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