According to the European Union’s 2012 aging report, the age profile of Europe is expected to change dramatically in the coming decades. It shows that the overall population of Europe will increase only moderately by 2060 (517 million, up from 502 million in 2010). Whilst the share of those aged 15-64 is projected to decline from 67% to 56%. The share of those aged 65 or over is projected to increase from 17% to 30%. The aging population will pose significant challenges for the economies and welfare systems across Europe.
The I-stay@home project (ICT Solutions for an aging society) was conceived from this information and looked to investigate how information communication technology (ICT) can support elderly and disabled people against future challenges such as isolation, security, disability, health, financial hardship, and independent living. Information communication technologies can be best described as the use of computers to store, retrieve, and transmit information.
Nine housing associations, two universities, and four technical companies across France, Germany, Holland, Belgium, and the UK came together to undertake this research on a pan European level. The project was partly funded by Interreg IVB of the European Regional Development Fund for a period of three years and ended in 2015. The whole project was born within EFL in 2010.
The project was divided into four phases. Phase one involved primary research into the challenges tenants face on a day-to-day basis and their views on the role of technology as a tool to mitigate the impact of aging.
Phase two involveed the collection and evaluation of ICT solutions across Northwestern Europe. All products and corresponding evaluation scores were made available to tenants and the public through a product catalogue.
In phase three, housing associations tested several ICT solutions in tenants’ homes via a transnational platform. The testing phase lasted about twelve months.
The project was then evaluated in phase four, where it reported on the overall effectiveness of ICT solutions as a tool for improving and maintaining the quality of life of the elderly and/or disabled people across Northwestern Europe.
To learn visibly how tenants benefitted from the ICT solutions and what partners learned for the future, you can watch this 12 minute documentary with English subtitles: