Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Technology is failing to meet the needs of older people with hearing and sight problems, report finds

Sense report launch
Assistive technology developers and service providers need to do more to meet the diverse needs of the rising number of older people with both hearing and sight problems, according to a new report launched at the University of Sheffield today.

The study - Keeping in Touch with Technology? - was commissioned in 2014 by Sense, the national charity for deafblind people, to explore the experiences of older people using telecare and assistive technology. Growing numbers of people with sight and hearing problems are living in the community and seven in ten of those are aged over 70. By 2030, the UK is likely to have 570,000 people with hearing and sight problems, including 418,000 people over 70 and 245,000 people with severe impairments.

Professor Sue Yeandle, Director of the Centre for International Research on Care, Labour and Equalities (CIRCLE) at the University of Sheffield, and an academic of our wider CATCH network, led the study with the Universities of Leeds and Oxford. The report will be launched during an event attended by former Home Secretary the Rt Hon Lord Blunkett.

Professor Yeandle said: “Huge strides have been made in technologies which can help people with sight, hearing and other difficulties communicate with others and live well and independently. But too few of the growing number who could benefit get this equipment – and many of them lack items designed with their needs and lifestyles in mind, or don’t get the follow-up support needed to use them.”

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