Promoting the new digital culture to elder people


By URBACT, on June 27th, 2011

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The Senior Lab is one of the projects designed and conceived by the Fundación Privada para el Fomento de la Sociedad del Conocimiento (Private Foundation for the Development of the Knowledge Society). The Foundation was created in 2008, driven by Cornellà de Llobregat’s city council. Its main objective is to promote the new digital culture of Knowledge Society, to approach the latest technological innovations to the citizens, to maintain social cohesion within the new digital era, and to promote learning activities.
The Senior Lab project aims to explore the innovation development possibilities of the elder population at the digital era so that they could contribute in an innovative form to the design and construction of an inclusive Knowledge Society.

It’s a common mistake to consider the process of aging a disease. Although if it is accurate that most of the health expenditure is dedicated to the elder population, it is a fact that progressively, elder people have longer and healthier life. Therefore, they have the possibility to contribute in a more creative and active way in social activities of all kinds. More precisely, regarding the Knowledge Society, despite the fact that the Internet is increasingly depending on its users’ innovations, many studies indicate that the elderly are the least connected to it. In this context, how can elder people use their important part in the society and influence the design and construction of the new Internet?

The Senior Lab was created with the initiative to build a new tool encouraging social innovation and exploring the necessary changes to apply to the ICT (Information and Communications Technology) so it could adapt itself to people, especially to those who are not yet using the Internet and less connected to the ICT: the elder population. The objective of the project is to design a new social tool, a Living Lab of elder people, where their opinions can be heard, and to allow a new generation of information technologies and communication adapted to these new demands.

The Imserso (Institute for the Elderly and Social Services) has awarded the Cornella Citilab project the Quality and the Best Practices Infanta Cristina 2010 Award for improving the autonomy of the elderly. This annual award is recognized both in Spain and Latin America for promoting social and technical research in finding solutions for the elderly and those dependent.

urbact-blog-citylab-21The jury considered “the use of digital environments” as a unique means of social integration, “the generation of technological innovations based on the co-design with seniors and creating new profiles adapted to the generation of users for the first time incorporates a segment of the labour market still to be explored”.

What you need to know about the Senior Lab project

SeniorLab is a civic project giving value to the experience and ideas of older people within the Knowledge Society. It is a team composed of people who are over 50 years, professionals and researchers. SeniorLab is a laboratory in which all participants can find the necessary tools to think, design and develop their own projects. The activity requires two afternoons at Citilab and as much time as you want at home. Eligible people are those over 50 years old, who are interested in new technologies and how these new technologies can be useful for the elderly. Technology has no age!

What can you expect to learn?
To collaborate in research and innovation group formed by and for older people on various subjects. To make use of new multimedia technologies: Internet, email, photo, video, presentations … whatever you propose!

How can you contribute?
With your life experience, citizen stories, motivation, memory, time, innovation. Ideas about issues that contribute to improve the quality of life for older people: Are all the products you use adapted to your circumstances (computers, appliances, clothing, car, etc.)? Can you think of ways to improve your quality of life (communication and personal relationships, travel, financial situation, leisure)? Can you imagine improvements in health (care, assistance, etc.)

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