However, the degree to which, and most importantly-how-older adults are engaged, as participants, advisors and decision-makers in the network’s technology research and development processes, are not well known.
To identify the scope of older adult involvement in AGE-WELL projects, the OA-INVOLVE project initiated a network survey in 2016. The first survey results can be found on the Reports webpage.
The results provide baseline data about the network’s engagement practices to share with the network. The results will also reveal how these practices might change over time, as the survey is repeated annually and the results between years are compared and analyzed.
In the summer 2017, we updated the survey questions (after reviewing the 2016 responses), changed the survey format from a Word document to an online tool and re-issued the survey by email invitation to 60 prospective respondents within our network (as listed on the AGE-WELL website at the time of the survey). The surveyed groups were AGE-WELL WorkPackages (51), Cross Cutting Themes (4), Other (4) and the Network Management Office (1).
Highlights of the 2017 survey results:
Survey completion rate (all respondent groups): 76% (46/60)
Number of older adults, by role (current and future combined) reported by all respondent groups:
Number of new prospective group respondents (since 2016 survey): 21
Number of new groups/23 who completed the 2017 survey: 17
Number of respondent groups who completed the 2016 and 2017 surveys: 27
What do this year’s survey results tell us about older adults’ active involvement in AGE-WELL projects?
80% of the older adults are reported to be (or will be) participants
10% of the older adults are reported to be (or will be) advisors
10% of the older adults are reported to be (or will be) decision makers
40% of the respondents reported ‘their’ older adults fulfil (or will fulfil) all 3 roles
Examples of what the respondents said:
…about older adult involvement:
“Older adults have been providing extremely valuable input into our development of digital games.”
…about their challenges involving older adults:
“We include older adults in our project to the level that they would like to be involved, it is therefore challenging to anticipate how many more of each role will be involved.”
…about their future plans for involving older adults:
“We wish to expand this project to involve a larger number of first nations elders from more band areas.”
Potential new questions about older adults’ involvement we can ask respondents in future surveys:
What strategies, activities, etc. do you use that help keep older adults engaged in their roles?
How long do older adults engage in their roles?
What challenges do you experience about older adult engagement?
Please provide an example of what an older adult does in the role of a participant, advisor and/or decision maker.
Watch for the 2017 Survey Results and the 2016 & 2017 Survey Results Comparison reports which will be posted to the Reports webpage.
Thank you to all respondents who completed the 2017 survey.
By Tanya Crawford, Dalhousie Univarsity