Graceful Ageing: Exploring the contribution and potential of ICT
The Conference provided an opportunity for project partners and early-stage and experienced researchers, and other interested people, to come together to reflect on the achievements of the project investigations to-date, to gain further insights into the themes and topics that are being studied, and to provide a space to explore the connections and synergies between the different stands of the enquiries. The aim was to further enhance and strengthen the collective capacity within the Value Ageing project to positively influence the development and implementation of policy and practice throughout Europe, as it relates to ageing and ICT.
The first day of the conference, Wednesday 18th September, was the 4th Value Ageing Management Board Meeting, held at the Netwell Centre at the Dundalk Institute of Technology. The meeting provided partners with an opportunity to reflect on the achievements to date within the Value Ageing project and to ensure that all partners are on target for the deliverables due in the final year of the project. With the business of the day over, the partners travelled to the nearby historic town of Carlingford for a sociable evening meal and, for some, a visit to a traditional Irish pub for Guiness, live music and the craic.
On the second day of the conference, Thursday 19th September, the Value Ageing team joined with guests at the Four Seasons Hotel in Carlingford to consider some of the themes emerging from the Value Ageing project. Mr Denis Cummins, President of the Dundalk Institute of Technology, welcomed the conference speakers and attendees and set the scene for the conference.
The first session, ‘Graceful Ageing’, was chaired by Ms Mary Deary, leader of Louth Age Friendly County. Ms Deary first introduced Dr Emilio Mordini, Centre for Science, Society & Citizenship, Rome, whose thought-provoking presentation asked the question, ‘Can Technology help us Age Gracefully?’. This was followed by presentations about the implementation of policies for older people and ICT in two neighbouring countries. Bev Reátegui, National Programme Director, Ageing Well in Wales, and Joan Martin, Director of Services Louth County Council, vividly described activities in their areas to explore ICT as a tool to support the well-being of older people in their countries. After a break for coffee and networking, Sinead Gibney, Head of Social Action at Google Ireland talked about Corporate Social Responsibility and the positive actions taken by her company. Donal Rice, of the Dublin-based Centre of Excellence for Universal Design, then discussed some of the fascinating issues emerging from universal design and standardisation in ICT.
The second session, ‘ICT for ageing: a future-oriented research agenda’, was chaired by Francesca Cavallaro of Tecnalia Research and Innovation, Spain. Alexandra Tingas, a Marie Curie Research Fellow working with INNOVA, Italy, described the development of scenarios of ICT in ageing, leading to a discussion of this methodology. Following this a panel of other early stage rearchers considered issues of innovation, policy and practice emerging from their research into ICT for ageing. After an open discussion, Rodd Bond, of the Netwell Centre, Dundalk Institute of Technology wrapped up the proceedings, looking forward to Governance and implementation of Value Ageing principles within the EI-AHA/Horizon2020.