Habinteg Housing Association has been chosen to represent the UK in a European research project to examine the potential of ICT (Information and Communications Technology) solutions to support older and disabled people to live independently.
The Istay@home project, part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (INTERREG IVB North West Europe programme), involves leading social housing providers from North West Europe, and aims to identify, select, and test a range of affordable ICT solutions that can assist older people to continue living independently in their own homes. Habinteg’s involvement in the project means that younger disabled people will also be included in product testing.
Habinteg's Chief Executive, Paul Gamble says:
“We're extremely excited to be part of this groundbreaking project. One of our key aims is to demonstrate and promote ways in which disabled people can live as independently as possible. As technology becomes ever present in all our lives, we believe that ICT will have an increasing role to play in supporting independence for disabled and older people too. With the population ageing rapidly across Europe, this is a vital area of enquiry if we're to combat social isolation and create a compelling case for investment in this area.”
Habinteg will take the lead in the first phase of the project which seeks to investigate with older and disabled people the aspects of daily living that could benefit most from support via an ICT solution. Partners will also create a compendium of appropriate ICT products currently on the market. A subsequent testing phase involving tenants from all participating countries will investigate which technologies do most to promote independence and health, and also contribute to energy efficiency.
Products and systems being tested will range from portable user controlled devices such as remote controls, to more sophisticated smart or intelligent products, apps and even social media tools accessed by tablet computers or smart phones.
Habinteg's Istay@home Project Manager, Glen Joseph says:
“This project is a great opportunity for Habinteg to put our expertise in supporting disabled tenants to good use. We're particularly pleased that some of our tenants will be able to 'live test' the technologies on offer and we are really looking forward to finding out how they get on and which products really have the potential to make a difference to their lives and the lives of many others across Europe.”
The initial phase of research will culminate in an Istay@home project conference to be hosted by Habinteg in London in early 2013. Once products are tested the project consortium aim to publish an online reference resource for European housing providers enabling them to research the best ICT solutions for their own tenants.
You can find out more on the Istay European website.