IPERIA introduced the careNET project during the 3rd European Standardization Summit in Istanbul on 11 June 2014. The CEN and CENELEC, European Standardization Organizations, together with the Turkish Standards Institution organized this major event.

The digital competences of care workers were addressed during the session “Skills for the silver economy”. IPERIA supported that the standardization of digital competences frameworks could positively impact the professionnalisation of carer workers in the European ageing society.

The president of the CEN, Friedrich Smaxwil, took part to this session. One of his conclusions was: ““The people who will educate us have to be teached on a specific way”. The professionnalisation of home care workers was thus identified and displayed as a challenge in Europe.

For more information, please read the press release of the 3rd European Standardization Summit .

” I did all the activities but I met some limits with my mother who took part to answer the tests (for older people), to play memory games. Now she can use the “Next” and “?” keys by herself. It is maybe nothing for some persons, but it is a huge step for her. She thought that she was too stupid to use the tablet, now she enjoys it… at her level but it matters. And she also showed the tablet to her 84 years old neighbour who immediately enjoyed and understand it (he never used a computer before) and after few hours he decided to buy a table. He came back 2 days after and asked for more information. We went online and watched his favorite singers, we tested Skype, played, googlemapped, I guess that he will come back soon…”, Mrs C.

European Commission’s Joint Research Centre Institute for Prospective Technological Studies has just published its long awaited DIGCOMP: A Framework for Developing and Understanding Digital Competence in Europe.

With the 2006 European Recommendation on Key Competences, Digital Competence has been acknowledged as one of the 8 key competences for Lifelong Learning by the  European Union. Digital Competence can be broadly defined as the confident, critical and  creative use of ICT to achieve goals related to work, employability, learning, leisure, inclusion and/or participation in society. Digital competence is a transversal key  competence which, as such, enables us to acquire other key competences (e.g.  language, mathematics, learning to learn, cultural awareness). It is related to many of the 21st Century skills which should be acquired by all citizens, to ensure their active participation in society and the economy.
The project, which was carried out between January 2011 and December 2012, had the following objectives:

  • To identify the key components of Digital Competence in terms of the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to be digitally competent;
  • To develop Digital Competence descriptors that will feed a conceptual framework and/or guidelines that can be validated at European level, taking into account relevant frameworkscurrently available;
  • To propose a roadmap for the possible use and revision of a Digital Competence framework and descriptors of Digital Competences for all levels of learners.

Read the full report by download: ftp://ftp.jrc.es/pub/EURdoc/JRC83167.pdf

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

In France IPERIA implement relays to insure the training, the peer learning and the networking of care workers. In 2013 IPERIA will put in place relays of care workers in 33 territories. On 4th July 2013, the facilitators of the relays gathered together during “the day of facilitators”. The relays aim to become ‘testing ground’ of innovations. The careNET pilot is part of the first innovation which will be tested in the framework of the relays. In this way the careNET project was introduced during this event. The facilitators showed themselves to be very interested by the project and its implementation.

Mobile technologies have been proved as a useful tool in the hands of care workers and care recipients since they are used in a variety of tasks related to health care issues. Mobile devices can especially improve effectively the professional life of care workers and make data more accessible.

A recent survey of health care professionals and administrators has shown that 60% have used their tablet at work for at least one year, 28% for two years and 7% for three years. It is also notable that many hospitals and clinics are purchasing tablets for their workers. The question is how care workers use tablets in their work? Mobile devices have lots of advantages which the most important is the access to medical records and information. This function keeps care workers informed of their patients’ clinical condition. Furthermore, they could use a tablet for scheduling appointments, communicating with doctors or coworkers and managing drug prescription. In this way care workers would be more focused on patient care than on administrative duties. In Greece tablets would enable the care workers who mostly do not have certified digital competences to use technology in an easier and more convenient way: they would increase their productivity and also care patients more effectively.

However should a tablet used for health care possess specific features? Tablets are usually designed for home users and therefore lacked in functionalities for health professionals. The CyberNet company designs computers for unique environment and computing needs. Within research in health care industry CyberNET designed the CyberMed T10 tablet for employees in the health care sector. It is loaded with all the features that a health care professional needs including antimicrobial coating and hygienic aluminum housings. Besides its touch screen can be used with medical gloves. It is also easy to carry due to its light weight and its handle though the most important feature remains the equipment of systems used in medical environments facilitating the work of care workers and doctors.

So what better for care workers to benefit of mobile technology by using medical grade tablets? In this way their job becomes easier and more convenient enabling secure access anywhere!


Author: Theofili Smprini

Around two thirds (65%) of Europeans aged 65-74 have never used the Internet (Life Online, 2011). The reasons are diverse. In some cases they are related to equipment and access costs. There are also concerns about safety online, harmful content and also lack of relevance of the content to the consumer. Disability and limited digital skills are also seen as obstacles to getting online.

With the idea of developing an innovative an easy way to help novice users to discover and use the Internet safely, ‘We are what we do‘, an UK based not-for-profit behaviour change company created an online service that is meant to be a gateway between the first time user and the Internet. This service is called ‘Internet Buttons‘.

‘Internet buttons’ is a customizable home page enabled with pre-made buttons that allows the creation of shortcuts to any online webiste. These shortcuts are presented as colourful buttons. They come with clear labels, are situated in the middle of the page and are big enough to be easily clicked. They are unmissable and therefore so easy to use!

‘Internet buttons’ are designed to target older people in particular, to help them benefit from the full potential of Internet. For example: shopping and paying bills online and, perhaps most importantly,  communicating with their friends and family that are online.

So how could you get an older person, who is a first time user of the Internet to use these buttons?
Follow the guide:

  1. Create a page
  2. Put your photo and contact number with a reassuring message
  3. Create the buttons. Popular examples are: Set up as a home page, Create buttons for Search, Email (work is web email), Weather, Wikipedia, News, Skype: Call me, Local newspaper, National news paper, TV guide, Local supermarket for the shopping, other examples in the Gallery.

The Internet Buttons also come with ‘My Handy Notebook’. This is a physical notebook to store notes and passwords used with Internet buttons, so that these are always to hand.

Don’t forget to visit and like their page on Facebook! You will find lots of interesting information about how Internet buttons can be used for helping novices to get online.

Further reading:
Life Online (2011) Report

Milligan, C. and Passey, D. (2011). Ageing and the use of the Internet: current engagement and future trends. Nominet Trust

Author: Margarita Pérez García

The careNet project acknowledges that enhancing the digital competences of older people is vital if we want to ensure their autonomy and social inclusion. Often we find that technological developments are driven not by the needs of the older person but rather by companies and professionals that have differing priorities. The importance of maintaining control over ones finances cannot be underestimated, but for older people, living in an increasingly digital world this is not as straightforward as it once used to be. For example in the UK the projected end point for the use of paper cheques is 2018 (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8414341.stm). In response to these and other changes we can identify a range of groups working to the demands of less well represented groups such as older peple. A good example is the Digital Interaction  group within the Culture Lab, based at the University of Newcastle, who have been exploring as they explain:

“the obvious need for the banking system to do more to be inclusive of the eighty-something age group, the aim of this project was to design innovative, provocative digital technologies that would enable this group to handle their finances more easily and highlight the ways in which the current system is failing older citizens.”

Their efforts in this domain have resulted in the production of a number of prototypes that include:
• A secure PIN reminder called the ‘Biometric Daemon‘;
Digital Cheques to better integrate the traditional cheque into modern banking systems;
• An application to enable people to give delegates restricted access to their money on their behalf called the ‘Guardian Angel‘;
• ‘Questionable Concepts‘ a provocative exploration of ideas about money-related scenarios.

For further information on these and other projects from the group please visit: http://di.ncl.ac.uk/projects/new-approaches-to-banking/

Author: Steven Warburton

The Carer+ Users and Stakeholders Review Panel composed of twenty Europeans experts and stakeholders from all sectors of the Caring community met in Brussels on 6th June to review the Carer+ ‘Competence Framework’.

The Validation Workshop involved discussions and interactive working sessions using an approach based on ‘Action Learning Sets’ This aimed to provide an ‘open and safe’ space to enable critical reflection to take place; to represent the different ‘voices’ and points of view  of key stakeholders in the domain; and to promote ‘sense-making’ and develop a common position on the competence framework and what, if any, changes needed to be made to it.
In the event, the experts involved in the workshop were very complementary about the competence framework and, more broadly, about the work that Carer+ has accomplished in its first year. They also provided many valuable comments and suggestions to improve it.  The Digital Competence Framework will be available to the public soon.

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