ICT-Enabled Communication Tools for the Elderly: A Proximity-Based Social Communication Tool

ICT-Enabled Communication Tools for the Elderly: A Proximity-Based Social Communication Tool

Hassan Saidinejad (Polytechnic University of Milan, Italy), Fabio Veronese (Polytechnic University of Milan, Italy), Sara Comai (Polytechnic University of Milan, Italy) and Fabio Salice (Polytechnic University of Milan, Italy)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 25
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9530-6.ch008
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Abstract

Elderly population is growing all over the globe. Social life (social contact, social support, social participation) and communication are important factors for ageing well. Research has shown the potential benefit of ICT-enabled communication tools and social networks for the elderly. The number of elderly people appearing on social networks is increasing. However, not all the available tools are effective for the elderly users. In this chapter, authors propose a communication model for the elderly. Focusing mainly on the locality of the users, a social communication tool for the elderly is proposed which is built around six main features: proximity, proactivity, less content more contact, visual map-based interface, gamification of support, and personal assistant.
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Introduction

ICT and Communication

The term communication derives from the Latin verb communicare that originally means “to share”, that is, sharing thoughts, opinions, experiences, feelings, and emotions with others. Communication is not simply talking; it necessarily concerns an interpersonal relation and exchange. Inter-personal communication involves two or more persons and is always based on a relation in which interlocutors influence each other, even if they do not notice that consciously. Inter-personal communication can be categorized into: verbal, non-verbal, and para-verbal communication. Verbal communication indicates what you say/write and concerns the usage of language (either spoken or written) and depends on syntactic and grammatical rules. Non-verbal communication concerns other channels of communication like facial expression, look, gestures, body posture, gait, and clothing. Para-verbal communication indicates how you say/write. It mainly concerns voice (tone, volume, rhythm) and includes pause, laughter, silence and other vocal expressions.

Information and communication technology has enabled some new forms of human communication and has changed the previous ones in different ways. ICT-enabled communication has had its own evolution from the early days up to now. The evolutionary path of inter-personal communication starts with simple one-to-one text-based messaging systems, gets richer with one-to-many messaging as well as going towards multimedia messages comprising images, voice, and video, and finally peaks with complex social communities with high dynamics and complex social interactions and functionalities.

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