Technology for social justice

Ageing well with broadband

This week the Victorian Minister for Technology, the Honourable Gordon Rich-Phillips, announced the ageing well at home with broadband project as part of the Victorian Government’s broadband-enabled innovation program.

Australians of all ages value their independence and the opportunity to live at home or in the environment of their choice.

The project is developing a broadband-enabled exercise program that will promote health and wellbeing among older people, enabling them to stay in their homes longer and promote social inclusion.

Currently there are 2.8 million Australians (13 percent of the population) aged over 65 years. As Australia’s population continues to age, this figure is expected to increase to 6.4 million over the next thirty years. A trend that will increase demand for aged care services across Australia.

The project aims to develop and implement an exercise program using information communication technology for older residents in the Melbourne suburb of Brunswick that will promote health and wellbeing, enabling them to stay in their homes longer, promotes social inclusion, and that can be expanded to other areas across Victoria and beyond.

"Connecting communities is an essential part of ensuring a socially inclusive society. This will be the first project of its kind tailored to the needs of older people at risk of losing their independence and Infoxchange is delighted to be part of a project that will use the NBN to support vulnerable older people," says Andrew Mahar, Executive Director of Infoxchange.

The technology will be developed for the Microsoft Kinect platform, and will be initially trialed with twenty older residents in Brunswick, Victoria’s first NBN release site.

Studies have shown that the use of technology to enable safe ageing in homes is preferred by older people (Fujitsu, 2007) however, there has been little research to develop enabling technologies and assess their acceptability and benefit in older people.

An eighteen-month trial will assess the effectiveness of broadband-enabled interactive gaming technology to assist older people to maintain independence in their home through improved social connectedness, and physical and mental wellbeing.

Participants will use Microsoft Kinect for Xbox 360 to keep in touch with each other.

The project collaborators are: Moreland City Council, the University of Melbourne’s Institute for a Broadband-Enabled Society, National Ageing Research Institute, Infoxchange, Microsoft, Council on the Ageing, Merri Community Health Services, NBN Co, and AARNet.​

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