Willeke van Staalduinen graduated as political scientist and was nurse in practice. She worked in Dutch parliament as policy officer on health politics for D66 (social liberal democratic political party) and as assistant of an MP. As policy officer with the Netherlands Board for Healthcare Institutions she developed her knowledge and experience with the functional requirements of older adults in relation to housing and the built environment. Within research organisation TNO, she got involved in the development of the age-friendly environments concept in Europe. Since 2017 she co-founded the company AFEdemy, Academy on age-friendly environments in Europe BV in Gouda. She initiated and is involved in several projects on Smart Healthy Age-Friendly Environments and digital transformation in the active and healthy ageing domain. She is vice-Chair of COST Action 19136 NET4 Age-Friendly since November 2020.
van Staalduinen, W.
Quality of life older adults and the uptake of technology
Willeke van Staalduinen, AFEdemy, Academy on age-friendly environments in Europe BV, Ntherlands
Smart age-friendly environments support older adults to healthily age, participate in society and live independently. To realise these environments a holistic approach that focuses on people and places is needed. Additionally, the need for digital provision of health and social care in the Active and Healthy Ageing (AHA) domain and requirement for user-centered design and close involvement of older citizens as transformation facilitators are becoming relevant in the policy agendas across Europe.
Against this background, the presented poster showcases initiatives which aim to enhance the quality of life of older adults and promote the uptake of open platforms as enablers of technology for active and healthy ageing.
Based on the insights which were gained within the Erasmus+ project Bridge the Gap! it became apparent that older adults have many ideas on how to improve the age-friendliness of their cities. However, some of them still struggle to understand how to deal and work with digital technology. This hampers their accessibility and communication with public authorities on age-friendly matters. Sending them to a digital training only proved to be not sufficient yet. On the contrary, they only learn if they can apply the gained knowledge towards solving practical issues in their own living environments.
The digital transformation of healthcare in Europe is slowly taking place. Many healthcare organisations and caregivers experience difficulties with the process. To tackle related challenges, training of care workers needs to be further developed and provided. In this context the modules of Erasmus+ Hands-on SHAFE offer a concrete solution. The project empowers access to and knowledge on digital technology, including smartphones. It teaches them how to transfer this knowledge to others and modify or apply healthy lifestyles.
To procure ICT and digital services without getting trapped with supplier lock-in is another challenge faced by the management of healthcare organisations. The availability and broad applicability of trustworthy, flexible and open platforms are crucial for solving this issue.
In this regard, EU provides funding for the development of open platforms aimed to make room available for grassroot initiatives and creation of open market for innovation solutions for active and healthy ageing. Prominent example project PlatformUptake.eu seeks to map open platforms in the AHA domain and carry out an in-depth evaluation of representative cases. The project assesses the hindrance and success factors for their evolution, to finally ensure the large scale uptake of existing platforms and the development of new ones. During the project, an online training (MOOC) for healthcare organisations and public authorities will be developed and also published on the PlatformUptake.eu Open Information Hub . Thus, the project aims to leverage identified uptake barriers, helps the project’s stakeholder groups select and work with open platforms and learn from the established guidelines to support the further evolution of existing solutions.