Essay Identifying Elderly People's Needs

1239 Words Feb 9th, 2008 5 Pages
Identifying elderly people's needs for communication and mobility
Sauli Tiitta
HIIT (Helsinki Institute for Information Technology), Finland sauli.tiitta@hiit.fi Keywords
Elderly people; communication; mobility; participatory observation; narratives, user needs; security and group coherence.
Abstract
The Finnish parliament's future commission has listed challenges in elderly peoples lives that could be overcome using new technology. The two most important inhibiting factors affecting the quality of life of elderly people were identified as solitude and immobility (O Kuusi, 2001). The purpose of this research is to identify everyday motivational needs concerning communication and mobility of elderly people and present a
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Elderly housing and health care centre in
Oregon is a good example that the elderly can be interested in latest technology.
In elderly housing pervasive computing has been used to help staff caregivers and elderly residents lives. The facility's networked sensors let staff for example identify residents who might need immediate care. First results have been very encouraging
(V Stanford, 2002).
Why do we need to find needs for elderly people?
Designing services and products using communication and mobile technology for elderly people is not easy. Information appliances for devices and services using technology are still in the beginning. There are numerous possibilities technology can utilise. If designers try to design technological products and services without first seeing the need for them it can take a long time before the needed products will be developed. Linear improvements fail to provide a decisive advantage and new opportunities must be discovered in advance. Finding needs offers product developers a different dynamic for understanding customers (A Kankainen, 2002; D Patnaik and
R Becker, 1999).
The user study presented in this article is part of the Between project at the
Helsinki Institute for Information Technology (HIIT). The project started in Spring
2001 and ends in Spring 2003. User studies were conducted between July and August
2001.

Conclusions
The elderly need support to build up

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