Elderly and disabled people in the UK will be trained in the use of smart tech before having their homes kitted out with various devices so they can improve the digital skills of their peers
Smart homes with digitally-savvy elderly and disabled people living in them will serve as a training ground for upskilling their peers.
The new government-backed project, intended to boost the technical ability of the UK population, will have those trained take a digital assessment – before kitting their homes out with various smart tech.
Located in West Sussex, the pilot initiative by the Uttlesford Council for Voluntary Service will then have the newly-trained and supplied experts open their homes for others to learn from them first-hand.
With help from younger “digital buddies”, they will teach their peers how to do things like control household appliances, shop online and contact family members via video calling.
Minister for digital Margot James said: “We are committed to improving the digital skills of people of all ages and abilities so everyone can enjoy the benefits of modern technology.
“These innovative projects will not only help some of the hardest to reach people live healthier and happier lives but also boost our mission to make the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a digital businesses.”
Smart homes for elderly and disabled to be funded by Digital Inclusion Innovation Fund
The Digital Boomers project is being funded by the £400,000 Digital Inclusion Innovation Fund, created by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to improve elderly and disabled people’s lives.
The fund will also see an app created by the Down’s Syndrome Association to allow people with the condition to monitor their weight and exercise levels from their smartphones to promote good health and wellbeing.
Clive Emmett, chief executive of Uttlesford Council for Voluntary Service, said: “Organisations across Essex are backing the project, which will see older people redesign their relationship using technology to become even more tech confident and retain their independence for longer.
“Thanks to the Digital Inclusion Innovation Fund, our exciting living smart homes and digital buddies pilots will help us rethink how older people use digital to support their health, wellbeing and independence.”
John Fisher, chief executive of Citizens Online, an organisation trying to make sure nobody is left behind by technological progress, added: “We were impressed with the standard of entries to the Digital Inclusion Fund.
“Digital inclusion is essential to help people improve their lives in this digital age and this fund, targeting those most in need, is a welcome enabler.
“The successful projects will produce valuable learning for all those working in this sector and help to improve the digital skills of older and disabled people.”