At the German Society of Gerontology and Geriatrics

Nicole SteilsNicole Steils is a Research Associate at the Social Care Workforce Research Unit in the Policy Institute at King’s College London. In September she presented findings of the UTOPIA (Using Telecare with Older People In Adult Social Care) study to colleagues at the German Society of Gerontology and Geriatrics, sections III and IV, conference in Fulda, Germany. (854 words)

This conference was held at Fulda University of Applied Sciences in Germany. The theme of the two-day conference was ‘Heterogeneity of Age(ing)’. Around 150 delegates attended.

Two keynote presentations started the academic content of the conference. Martina Brandt reported findings on intergenerational care and social policy in the European context based on data from the Survey of Health, Ageing & Retirement in Europe (SHARE) and how various care systems inform the growing social inequalities in giving and receiving care. As the UK was not part of the SHARE project, I was not able to directly learn about similarities and differences between the UK and other European countries. The second keynote was by Hürrem Tezcan-Güntekin who discussed research methods and findings from the German Age Survey, arguing that research in gerontology needs more ‘diversity sensitive’ approaches. Continue reading

Use of Assistive Technology and telecare in Germany – visiting the ‘independent living centre’ exhibition in Frankfurt am Main

Nicole SteilsNicole Steils is a Research Associate at the Social Care Workforce Research Unit in the Policy Institute at King’s College London. As part of the UTOPIA (Using Telecare with Older People In Adult Social Care) study, Nicole Steils travelled to Frankfurt am Main, Germany, to visit and explore the ‘independent living centre’ exhibition at Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences. (637 words)

Once a month this exhibition is open to the public. An expert from the university and a representative from a disability aid federation guide people through the independent living centre and explain the different exhibits and installations. I was one of about 25 people who visited on the day. On other days the exhibition is used as part of the training of the 3,200 students from the Faculty of Health and Social Work as well as students from other health professional training programmes.

Covering 150 square meters (1,615 square feet) the exhibition consists of various products, designs and technological solutions aiming to support people to live in their own home and to aid mobility in and outside the home. The exhibition also shows examples of products aiming to assist family carers or paid staff. In addition, our two guides showed us some simple DIY solutions for sometimes very costly products on the open market. Continue reading

Interactive technologies and games – what relevance do they have for social care?

John WoolhamJohn Woolham is Senior Research Fellow at the Social Care Workforce Research Unit in the Policy Institute at King’s. (856 words)

There’s a saying, apparently, amongst actors: never work with children or animals. For academics, one might add children, animals and robots—if one of the presentations I recently attended was anything to go by—but I’ll come to that.

The conference, known as I-TAG, (Interactive Technologies and Games) was held in Nottingham and organised by colleagues from Nottingham Trent University. I don’t know anything about robotics or computer technology (in fact, anyone who knows me will attest to my cack-handedness at anything even vaguely IT related). I am, though, very interested in exploring how electronic assistive technologies and telecare can help people who need social care to maintain independence and quality of life; and because I recently became Deputy Editor of the Journal of Assistive Technologies (soon to be re-named the Journal of Enabling Technologies) I went along for one day of this two day conference to find out more about ITAG, and to invite anyone doing interesting work to consider publishing with us. Continue reading

What are the prospects for using telecare for older people?

John WoolhamJohn Woolham is Senior Research Fellow at the Social Care Workforce Research Unit. (500 words)

On 9 March, I spoke in a webinar lecture for Oxford Academic Health Science Network. This network brings together universities, industry and the NHS throughout the Thames Valley region to improve health and prosperity in our region through rapid clinical innovation adoption. One strand of this network is devoted to a dementia clinical network and I was invited to speak by Dr Rupert McShane, a Consultant Old Age Psychiatrist at Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, who leads this network. Continue reading