Technology for Active Participation in Society

Social interaction and support are consistently identified as key aspects of seniors’ quality of life. Lack of communication has been shown to lead to isolation and loneliness, which can result in problems such as depression and cognitive decline for older adults. TECH-APS explores novel technologies that encourage and enable greater social interaction for older adults, and support social participation, including technologies for collaborative play, learning and knowledge sharing.

Workpackage Leads
  • Ronald Baecker, University of Toronto
  • David Kaufman, Simon Fraser University
  • Cosmin Munteanu, University of Toronto


Core Research Projects

Promoting Social Connectedness through New and Innovative Communication Platforms – 4.1 CONNECT-TECH

Research indicates that as many as 43% of older adults living in the community feel socially isolated. The negative effects are well documented: depression, stress, functional decline and death. The goal of this project is to design, create, test and where possible bring to the commercial market new communication technologies for older adults. This project will answer the essential question: can these technologies be helpful in reducing older adults’ feelings of isolation?

Project Leads
  • Ronald Baecker, University of Toronto
  • Sandra Black, Sunnybrook Health Sciences
Researchers
  • Cosmin Munteanu, University of Toronto
  • Goldie Nejat, University of Toronto
  • Julie Maitland, Accreon Inc.

 

Promoting Social Connectedness through Playing Together- Digital Social Games for Learning and Entertainment – 4.2 CONNECT-PLAY

The goal of this project is to create, research and commercialize digital games to enhance older adults’ quality of life. Some research indicates that digital games can enhance older adults’ happiness, cognitive development and facilitate social interaction. Today’s commercially produced games can pose usability challenges. However, many older adults readily embrace the concept of lifelong learning. The games in this project focus on social learning. They involve learning content and/or skills and will be played as social games with other adults or in an inter-generational format.

Project Leads
  • David Kaufman, Simon Fraser University
  • Louise Sauve, Unknown
Researchers
  • , Simon Fraser University
  • Emmanuel Duplaa, University of Ottawa
  • Eugene Loos, University of Amsterdam and Utrecht University
  • Julie Maitland, Accreon Inc.
  • Lise Renaud, Université du Québec à Montréal
  • Patrick Plante, Télé-université

 

Promoting Social Connectedness through Collaborating on Digital Storytelling and Knowledge Creation and Sharing – 4.3 CONNECT-CREATE

This project focuses on designing technological platforms to enable older adults to use digital storytelling as a means of communicating and socializing. The research involves working with   older adults in using these platforms and tools to create digital stories covering significant events in their lives and/or their communities. It is a unique means of communication that can be enjoyable, meaningful and life affirming and can assist older adults in continuing to learn, grow and maintain cognitive abilities.

Project Leads
  • Karyn Moffatt, McGill University
  • Cosmin Munteanu, University of Toronto
Researchers
  • , Simon Fraser University
  • David Kaufman, Simon Fraser University
  • Eugene Loos, University of Amsterdam and Utrecht University
  • Julie Maitland, Accreon Inc.
  • Ronald Baecker, University of Toronto

 

Supporting our Aging Workforce: Design Requirements for Novel Retiree Continuity Management Support Systems – 4.4-CAT1 CONNECT-KT

Retirement has a significant impact, both positive and negative, on the retired person, organization and, on a larger scale, on Canadian industry. For an individual, retirement can negatively affect their physical, mental, and health status. For an organization, it can mean the loss of information and knowledge. To date, tools have not been developed to capture and transfer knowledge in order to meet the needs and preferences of older workers. Our research addresses this need by examining employees' preferences as to the methods and technologies for communicating knowledge before and after retirement. This research focuses on developing a set of design specifications for support systems to manage the continuity of new retirees that are compatible with the needs and preferences of older workers and their successors.

Project Leads
  • Max Evans, McGill University
  • Karyn Moffatt, McGill University
Researchers
  • Anthony Wensley, Unknown
  • Julie Maitland, Accreon Inc.

 

Lha’hutit’en - Intergenerational Digital Storytelling in a First Nations Community – 4.6-S3 Lha’hutit’en

The Nak’azdli Band is in need of a means to strengthen intergenerational linkages between elders and youth to preserve cultural wisdom held by the elders for future generations. Under the direction of the Nak’azdli Health Centre, a Nak’azdli elder’s survey was conducted in the spring of 2016. This survey identified that sharing cultural knowledge and traditions was a priority for Nak’azdli Elders. This is understandable as elders cope with adapting to a fast-changing society and the loss of elders in death. Our team agreed to introduce a digital storytelling workshop using technology as a means to facilitate knowledge-sharing between elders and youths. This pilot workshop involves Nak’albun Elementary School students and Nak’azdli Elders. The project’s intended outcome is to integrate digital storytelling into the school curriculum and support elders working with youths in a meaningful way to bridge the intergenerational divide and preserve their culture and lived experiences.

Project Leads
  • Shannon Freeman, University of Northern British Columbia
  • Jenny Martin,
Researchers
  • Julie Maitland, Accreon Inc.

 

Language Customization Tool to Simplify Health Information – 4.7-S3 ACCESS-H-INFO

Imagine a world where patients and caregivers alike can adapt digital health information with the click of a button to their desired reading level. Our Language Customization Tool to Simplify Health Information aims to do that, and with this help the 88% of Canadian seniors who are considered low-literate and who struggle to understand and trust health information they find online. It is especially necessary given shifts to self-managed care that require patients to read more complex health information than ever before, without burdening their healthcare providers with requests to translate online information for them. This project has the potential to impact millions of Canadians; transform knowledge mobilization practices with increased information personalization; make critical online information truly accessible to everyone but particularly to seniors; revolutionize how people interact with information online; and improve decision-making shared between patients, caregivers, and healthcare providers.

Project Leads
  • Cosmin Munteanu, University of Toronto
Researchers
  • Julie Maitland, Accreon Inc.

 

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