Needs Assessment Regarding ICT for Elderly People and their Carers: The PROADAS study

According to the Digital Agenda for Europe (2014–2020) enhancing digital literacy, skills and inclusion is one of the main priorities. All European elderly people must become e-seniors as soon as possible. On the hand, active ageing means that senior citizens activate themselves in order to be as independent as possible and autonomous, taking part in personal, societal and financial life along with their own contribution. As a result, triggering these new digital tools and ICT skills can assist the elderly to be a more integrated part of our society. Aim: The Erasmus+ Proadas project promotion of Active Digital Ageing Skills aims at tackling the gap between ageing population and digital literacy and strengthening and reinforcing the stakeholders, experts and practitioners in the fields of adult education and lifelong learning, by identifying the needs of elderly people and their carers regarding the technology. Methodology: The study was conducted in January 2019 in all six countries participated in the Proadas project 35 carers and their assigned seniors were selected via convenience sampling by a minimum of three best practices- centres of excellence per country. A twelve-question close format questionnaire was developed, using a Delphi approach and completed by all participants. All data was analysed using SPPS 20. Results: A total of 188 responders from all six countries agreed to participate response rate 89.5% of which 51.5% women. Age varied significantly between 20-75 years. Regarding existing ICT skills participants in all countries were familiar with internet (60%) and communication via digital tools (skype, messenger) (56.7%) email (40%) and basic ICT skills (36.7%). Very few responders used advanced services such as e banking (26.7%) or e-health (36.7%). There was unanimous agreement that learning is facilitated in groups with the help of family or friends. The most popular option was face to face either in a group (86.7% high or more) or via a private lesson (80% high or more). Digital learning options were seen more positively, with high or more approval rates ranging between 33.4% for MOOCs, 36.7% for e-books and 40% for ppt files and forum to the most popular options of audio files and open education resources (both 50%), mobile apps at 53%, pdf and video files (both 60%) and finally tutorials (73.3%). On the other hand, traditional options were marked less favorably, with a high or more acceptance rate of only 33.3%. The main obstacles regarding digital integration involved lack of trainers, motivation and suitable educators. Conclusion: There is latent need for the integration of ICT in elderly care. The development of suitable digital and traditional learning material and the involvement of motivated formal and informal carers are key strategies for the successful implementation of such a reform.