The Intergenerational Help Desk: Encouraging ICT Use in Older Adults in England

Hardill, Irene (2014) The Intergenerational Help Desk: Encouraging ICT Use in Older Adults in England. In: Intergenerational Space. Routledge Studies in Human Geography . Routledge, London, pp. 273-285. ISBN 9780415855310

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In this chapter we focus on intergenerational geographies by critically reflecting on participation in research funded in the UK by the New Dynamics of Ageing research programme. The Sus-IT project (shorthand for Sustaining IT use by older people to promote autonomy and independence) was concerned with understanding the problems and circumstances which might cause people to ‘disengage’ or give up using information and communication technologies (ICTs), such as computers, the Internet or mobile phones. ICTs are fundamentally altering the spatial and temporal organization of economic and social life. A recent report on internet use and older adults in Ireland highlighted the utility of the internet as both a communication tool and an information resource (CARDI 2012). For older people, ICTs can be powerful assistive technologies, helping them to maintain their independence, social connectedness and sense of worth in the face of declining health or limited capabilities, but they can also offer new and empowering opportunities to improve an individual’s quality of life. Old age and space are entwined processes (Schwanen et al. 2012), and using ICTs can alter the spatial and temporal contours of everyday life, for example ICTs can be used to undertake tasks from home that once needed to be undertaken outside the home, such as online shopping and paying bills. ICTs offer people the possibility of keeping in touch with others via mobile phones while outside the home. Intergenerational support from family members and non-kin in the community play an important role in supporting older people building and maintaining ICT savoir faire, technologies increasingly used by older people to stay in touch with children and grandchildren (Hardill 2013). In order to understand the challenges of sustaining digital engagement this chapter examines the ways in which digital technologies are embedded and embodied into the practices of everyday life, highlighting the role of intergenerational linkages with particular reference to England. After this introduction, the chapter is divided in three parts. Section two examines older adults and ICT use. This is followed by a section highlighting the Sus-IT project, and the final section is the conclusion.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: L700 Human and Social Geography
P100 Information Services
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Social Sciences
Depositing User: Paul Burns
Date Deposited: 02 Dec 2015 12:16
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2019 19:32

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