Technologies for promoting social participation in later life (book chapter- to appear)

Marcos Baez Radoslaw Nielek Fabio Casati Adam Wierzbicki

Social participation is known to bring great benefits to the health and well-being of people as they age. From being in contact with others to engaging in group activities, keeping socially active can help slow down the effects of age-related declines, reduce risks of loneliness and social isolation and even mortality in old age. There are unfortunately a variety of barriers that make it difficult for older adults to engage in social activities in a regular basis. In this chapter, we give an overview of the challenges to social participation and discuss how technology can help overcome these barriers and promote participation in social activities. We examine two particular research threads and designs, exploring ways in which technology can support co-located and virtual participation: i) an application that motivates the virtual participation in group training programs, and ii) a location-based game that supports co-located intergenerational ICT training classes. We discuss the effectiveness and limitations of various design choices in the two use cases and outline the lessons learned.