Age-Friendly Standards Around ICT: The Challenge of Co-Production With Older People

Age-Friendly Standards Around ICT: The Challenge of Co-Production With Older People

Verina Waights, Caroline Holland, Estelle Huchet, Malcolm Fisk
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/IJSR.2019070101
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As the European population ages, there is an escalating need for age-friendly standards to support development of effective products and services involving information and communication technologies (ICT), thereby improving usability for all consumers, including older people. Co-production with users through inclusive and participatory processes provides several benefits to standardization, including enhanced understanding of market needs, clearer identification and mitigation of risks, and increased legitimacy of the standards developed. Ideally, co-production includes users from a range of backgrounds. However, older people, especially those aged over 80 years, are often the least likely in the population to be involved. This paper reports on barriers and challenges to inclusive co-production from the perspectives of a range of stakeholders participating in the European Commission-funded project PROGRESSIVE: Progressive Standards around ICT for Active and Healthy Ageing. It identifies potential ways to improve the participation of older people in the co-production of standards.
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The global age profile-is increasing, with a predicted rise in those aged 60 and over from 12.3% in 2015 to 16% by 2030 (United Nations [UN], 2017a, p 3). Furthermore, the European age profile is increasing more rapidly - 25% of Europeans are aged over 60, projected to rise to 35% by 2050 (UN, 2017b), with the largest increase in those aged over 80 (Eurostats, 2020). These ageing profiles led the World Health Organization (WHO, 2007) to advocate moving “towards an age-friendly world…[that] helps people stay heathy and active even at the oldest ages”. This goal drives many current global and European policies, which should include a continuum of “affordable, accessible, high-quality and age-friendly health and social services that address the needs and rights of people as they age” (WHO, 2002) and the “process of developing and maintaining the functional ability that enables well-being in older age” (WHO, 2015).

As standards are highly influential and “major drivers of choice and change” (Ali-Vehmas, 2016), there is an increasing need for establishing age-friendly standards to support the development of effective products and services for ageing populations. This was recognized by the European Parliament that noted that demographic ageing requires “systematic incorporation of the needs of older persons in the development of standards to help achieve an active and ageing society” (EU, 2017, consideration 64).

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