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Across the cohorts of a population, the socio-economic-demographic characteristics of each cohort reflect life-course experiences and societal developments across that life-course.

In turn, these characteristics including educational attainment determine the skills set (broadly defined) of individuals in different cohorts and therefore determine their potential for full and active citizenship across the life-course.

In recent decades, the introduction of ICT into the everyday environment of all citizens across cohorts means increasingly that an understanding and utilization of ICT is a fundamental pre-requisite for full and active citizenship – in the family (inter- and intra-generational interactions), in the workplace and in the public domain through access to public information and broader information. Cross-cohort heterogeneity introduces the risk that this development, while enhancing the potential for full and active citizenship of individuals, is in danger of creating a polarization of the population, which for a number of reasons may follow an unfortunate age–divide. In addition, the speed of continued development means that the ICT age-divide is not transitional, but simply takes on a different composition as new cohorts acquire new ICT skills.

Technology also places an important role in allowing older adults to remain active citizens in the community. The Institute is particularly interested in the interface between the needs and abilities of older people and the engineering production of technology to fulfill these needs.

AKTIVE: Advancing Knowledge of Telecare for Independence and Vitality in later life

Funding: TSB and ESRC This project, funded by the Technology Strategy Board and ESRC through the Assisted Living Innovation Platform, was in collaboration with the Centre for International Research on Care, Labour and Equalities (CIRCLE, formerly University of Leeds now University of Shef...

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SENSE – Using technology to support older adults with dual sensory impairment

Funding: Sense Building on the AKTIVE project, the Institute worked again in collaboration with CIRCLE at the University of Sheffield to explore the role of the role of telecare and other assistive technologies in supporting older people with DSI to live independently in their own homes. ...

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