Care to Care - Enabling elderly peoples' use of ICT

In careNET, we focus on social inclusion through the development of ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) competences for care recipients above the age of 65 years in long term domiciliary care and  care workers. Care workers’ care for elderly people goes beyond helping with cleaning, cooking and other daily tasks. Care workers need their vocational competences to be developed, competences in relation to enabling care recipients use ICT.

ICTs and 65+ people in care

In the context of the everyday life in domiciliary care, careNET has explored in seven partner countries if and how care workers support the elderly as care recipients in handling their lives with the use of ICTs. In the care services provided for elderly people, the focus could be on care workers help with and teach the use ICTs and Internet. The care recipients can be empowered by the care workers through being able to use ICT in their everyday lives. By supporting the care recipients to use ICT, the care workers support the care recipients in becoming more independent and the care workers can perform their care work with greater proficiency.

Care workers support in using ICT as well

In its first phase, the careNET project partners identified that care recipients can get technical assistance from care workers with in learning to use a digital device, such as smartphones, tablets or laptops, to connect and install an internet connection and ensure that applications and programs are updated and are secure to use. By helping the care recipients to use ICT and Internet, to use web shops for ordering products related to their daily life and care, patients’ associations’ web pages for information and help for the care recipients or relatives, online booking for appointments at the physician and ordering prescriptions, and to book trips and travels, the care workers empowers the care recipients and enhance their quality of life.

ICTs and security

Many elderly people are afraid of using the Internet for personal affairs such as banking. Care workers can help them to use online banking that makes the handling of bank affairs easier and accessible for a care recipient dependent on domiciliary care. Elderly people in long term domiciliary care seldom use mobile phones. To avoid isolation and to connect with family and friends outside the care recipients’ homes, care workers can teach their clients to use mobile phones not only for calls but also for sending and receiving text messages and MMS’ and for other tasks as well.

Care workers care for people over 65 in need. Supporting them in using ICTs could bring a new dimension in their care work.

Author: Annette Dalsgaard Vilain

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