AGE-WELL encompasses over three dozens of projects and four crosscutting activity teams, as such, it is the largest Canadian network of professionals focused on a range of aspects related to technology and ageing. This network on one hand is a powerful structure organized to optimize the work of hundreds of researchers and entrepreneurs, and on the other hand, it is a remarkable resource, from which we learn to enhance research and development practices.
OA-INVOLVE harnesses the knowledge related to older adults involvement practices generated by the network, and shares it with the Network and beyond.
The AGE-WELL projects survey describes basic aspects of engaging older adults in their work. This is the first step in a longitudinal study towards documenting the ways of working with older adults in technology research and development project over the lifespan of the projects, across the Network.
To date two annual surveys have been completed. The summary reports are available under the RESOURCES tab.
Involving older adults in research and development of technologies that are relevant to them has the potential to improve the final products. However, realizing this potential requires good practice and meaningful engagement.
OA-INVOLVE is working towards developing a framework and older adults involvement guide to aid researchers and industry partners. In this quest, OA-INVOLVE has undertaken case studies, which will provide the answers to the following research questions:
1. How are AGE-WELL projects engaging older adults and what supports or resources do they need to continue to engage older adult and/or expand on the nature of that engagement?
2. How do we best actively involve older adults in research on aging and technology?
3. How do we determine the impact of older adult involvement on research outcomes and outputs?
OA-INVOLVE conducted a review of the literature available on engaging older adults in technology research and development (Kirkland et al., under development). This review identified a number of common practices for engaging older adults in research, as well as barriers and facilitators experienced by older adults and researchers in such engagement processes. It also summarizes the adaptations of participatory methods required in working with members who are not trained researchers or have particular mobile, sensory or cognitive limitations.
Brief Practical Guides
OA-INVOLVE uses the evidence gathered through mixed methods to develop short "HOW TO" guides about older adults' engagement. These guides include also extensive lists of resources essential to aid the older adults' engagement practices. The guides are available under the RESOURCES tab.