• Genuine partnership and equitable research: working “with” older people to develop a smart activity monitoring system

      Pratesi, Alessandro; Sixsmith, Judith; Woolrych, Ryan (2013-12)
      Recent UK government policy has highlighted the value of user involvement in service development, particularly concerning assistive technologies and their role in providing care. This article illustrates the case of a person-centred, participatory project involving older people in the design, implementation and development of innovative technological solutions to enable older people to live independently and age-in-place within their homes and communities. The research aims and objectives included: the identification of technological, psychological and social needs of older people; the definition of user requirements to inform an activity monitoring system for use in private homes and residential care settings; and the analysis of the ways in which such systems impact on the everyday lives of older adults in different settings. The innovative aspects of the user-driven, participatory approach illustrated in this paper concern the involvement of older people as co-researchers throughout the research process. This article reports the reflexive accounts which emerged during the project and provides viable and practical pathways to facilitate participatory research in the development of assistive technology for older adults. It provides practical guidelines for future user-driven, participatory research involving older adults in the design, development and implementation of assistive technologies. Our findings show that developing authentic, non-tokenistic research partnerships and including older people’s ideas, motivations and perspectives in the design and development of these types of technology can lead to productive forms of mutual inspiration and technological solutions grounded in the experiences of older people.
    • Participatory design for future care related technologies: lessons from the Smart Distress Monitor Project

      Pratesi, Alessandro; Sixsmith, Judith; Woolrych, Ryan (Universidad Iberoamericana Puebla, 2012)
      The impact of care related technology on older people’s health and well-being is growing constantly and at a rapid pace. Participatory approaches to the design and development of care related technology have become increasingly common; however, these approaches have often included older people simply as test participants, rather than co-researchers, in the evaluation of developing technologies. This paper presents a participatory project involving older people in the design and development of an intelligent activity/inactivity monitoring system for domestic environments. In order to be successful, the development of such a system must be viewed less as a technological challenge and more as the creation of an integrated socio-technical system in which technology is functional to the people and organisations involved.