Current Uptake of Technology Related to the Built Environment to Support Older Adults to Live Independently in Their Community

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-7635

Article | Open Access

Current Uptake of Technology Related to the Built Environment to Support Older Adults to Live Independently in Their Community


  • Julie Futcher Urban Generation, UK
  • Federica Pascale School of Engineering & the Built Environment, Anglia Ruskin University, UK
  • Alison Pooley School of Engineering & the Built Environment, Anglia Ruskin University, UK
  • Sally-Anne Francis Faculty of Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care, Anglia Ruskin University, UK


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Abstract:  Current forecasts predict that, in line with increasing global populations and extended life expectancy, older adults will dominate the population structure. To accommodate this demographic shift, governmental policies point to ‘ageing in place’ as key. This article outlines research findings of an initial investigation into the uptake of technology to support ‘ageing in place’. The study sets out to identify both incentives and barriers to the uptake under four key activity criteria— medical, monitoring, mobility and social—at three built environment scales—home, street and neighbourhood, for urban, semi-urban and rural locations—to support older adults to live independently in their community. Results show that whilst there are significant and justified concerns over the limitations of physical conditions to support ‘ageing in place’, most physical conditions along with age are not barriers to the uptake of technology, as uptake is high regardless of circumstances. However, the study revealed that uptake is dependent on level of training, if shown to lead to increasing independence, includes a level of ‘enjoyment of use’, and does not replace existing physical relationships. The study also identified that there is limited research around the use of technology for either mobility or social activities outside the home; rather, research focus is concerned with medical monitoring in the home. Finally, research overlooks the role of geographic demographics to support ‘ageing in place’. The results of this research can provide useful guidelines co-created with older adults for the development of new policies to ‘ageing in place’.

Keywords:  ageing in place; geographic demography; independent living; older adults; technology

Published:   18 June 2019


DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/up.v4i2.1919


© Julie Futcher, Federica Pascale, Alison Pooley, Sally-Anne Francis. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.