Centre for Research in Public Health and Community Care, University of Hertfordshire – Written evidence (INQ0059)


Technologies that can enable independent living in old age. By Dr Jennifer Lynch, Prof. Frances Bunn and Prof. Claire Goodman. University of Hertfordshire, Centre for Research in Public Health and Community Care.


Dr Lynch is an NIHR Knowledge Mobilisation Research Fellow researching the implementation of assistive technology for older people living in the community. She also works on the Wellcome Trust and NIHR funded Studies in Co-creating Assisted Living Solutions (SCALS) programme (Greenhalgh et al. 2016). Professors Goodman and Bunn undertake research on the health and wellbeing of older people, including those with dementia, frailty and other complex needs.


In our submission we refer to the terms of reference, responding to questions 6 and 8. We include:


What can be done to improve the acceptability of technology to older people?


Acceptability of technology among older people is high if several factors are considered (Liu et al. 2016; Peek at al. 2016; Cook et al. 2016):


From our own research (Lynch et al 2018; Lynch 2015) we know:


Maintaining independence in daily living—devices designed to help and current state of readiness



Barriers to implementation


There are a number of well-documented barriers at system and individual level to successful technology implementation (Lynch et al. 2018; Greenhalgh et al. 2018; Knapp et al. 2016):


At a system level these are:


At an individual level:


How can we overcome these barriers?



Technology has the potential to support older people to live independently for longer but currently there is not enough research evidence to tell us which technologies can do this best. Research and social care practice must develop methods of working that start with what older people say they want help with and work with them to test new technologies. Social care professionals need more help to support older people to use technologies and to understand all the factors that might influence the success of a technology enabled service.




Assistive technologies: Devices that help people with everyday tasks or make it easier for people to keep in contact with others or collect information about a person’s activities to support their care.


Older people: Adults aged 65 years and over.


Quality of life: Subjective assessment of a person’s ability to enjoy normal life activities taking into account the impact of illness and treatment. Measurement is usually carried out using a questionnaire before and after a person interacts with an intervention, like a new technology. It includes factors such as mobility, emotional state, social contact, fatigue and other disease specific symptoms.


Coproduction: A way of working whereby professionals and people who use services come together on an equal footing to find a shared solution, for example to plan and deliver a new service.





20 September 2019