I'm feeling a little foolish - yet also inspired - after publishing an interim report on our Ageing Better exploration, summarised over here.
The main conclusion in our report is that we should switch our focus from programmes, towards exploring in more detail what digital technology means to the individual – in different situations, with different interests, needs, capabilities and support. We thought that the scope for digital healthcare is likely to be particularly important, as Tony Watts has highlighted.
So rather than Ageing Better, adding some tech and innovation to existing programmes, we should look at Living Well with tech, and how people can bring appropriate tech into their lives, and learn to live with the tech that surrounds us whether we like it or not. (Interesting essays on that in the Technology of us).
The report has gone down well with members of the digital inclusion group of Age Action Alliance, and others that Drew Mackie and I have been working with.
The slight feeling of foolishness arose when I followed through a link in Tony's Later Life AGEnda newsletter to a European conference item and found the Scottish Government-funded Living it Up portal
Living it Up has online health advice, search for local opportunities, help with technology - and a quiz to help you shape your exploration. Even though I live in London, I could use a lot of the information, including the search. The site says:
Living it Up is an online self-management hub, which aims to empower people to improve their health and wellbeing.
The service is currently active in five areas across Scotland: Forth Valley, Highland and Argyll & Bute, Lothian, Moray, and the Western Isles, and aspires to extend its reach to the whole of Scotland and beyond.
Although aimed at the over 50’s, Living it Up is useful for those with long term health conditions, care givers and anyone who wants to improve their health, wellbeing and quality of life. By using familiar [technology](https://portal.livingitup.org.uk/connect) like computers, tablets and smartphones, users of Living it Up are able to access innovative and trusted [health](https://flourish.livingitup.org.uk/), care and wellbeing services, [local information](https://shine.livingitup.org.uk/discover/Searching), [volunteering opportunities](https://shine.livingitup.org.uk/) and products which will enable everyone feel better connected in their communities and more in control of their own health.
Living it Up is driven by a collaborative community approach. From the initial recruitment of test users, to the workshops which led to the creation of our key services; [DISCOVER](https://discover.livingitup.org.uk/), [SHINE](https://shine.livingitup.org.uk/), [CONNECT](https://portal.livingitup.org.uk/connect) and [FLOURISH](https://flourish.livingitup.org.uk/), co-design has been key. Each stage of development was determined by a combination of community engagement and input from a consortium of technology experts, service providers and innovators in the 5 pilot areas.
In writing the Ageing Better report, we envisaged that older people - and those helping them - might have to customise their own digital experience, which can be challenging for anyone. It looks to me as if Living it Up has done most of that.
So why hadn't I spotted the site before - and/or why hadn't anyone else pointed it out?
The slight feeling of foolishness was soon dissipated by the sense that here might be a great opportunity for some joining up with the other work we've been doing in the exploration. I'll follow that up next week.