A glimpse into the future: the aged care intranet

A South Australian provider has received funding to develop a virtual platform for aged care residents.

A South Australian provider has been granted funding to develop a new virtual platform for aged care residents.

The Helping Hand project will explore the idea of delivering support and opportunities using an intranet service developed specifically for aged care facilities.

The project was one of eight winning entries in the ‘Bold Ideas, Better Lives’ challenge, announced last week by the South Australian premier Mike Rann.

Helping Hand will work with the Media Resource Centre and Freerange Future to develop a series of prototype virtual platforms that will be tested by residents.

The organisation’s director of research and development, Megan Corlis said the ‘Aged Care, Digital Lifestyles’ project would open up the world to people living in aged care facilities.

“We have got a lady here who paints and she had no idea she could go online and purchase all her art supplies instead of waiting for people to bring things in – but this would allow her to do that,” she said.

“Residents could go on a virtual tour of the Victorian Albert Museum in London, go shopping or even bet on the races.”

As well as engaging with the outside world, residents would be able to use the intranet to check menus and provide staff with feedback.

“It’s really about enhancing people’s lives – it doesn’t replace their social life,” Ms Corlis said.

“They could email a group of people within the facility and ask, ‘Would you like to get a coffee?’ It’s an internal portal and an external portal.”

Helping Hand has already conducted a study looking at the benefits of social networking for older people living in the community experiencing loneliness.

The group’s CEO, Ian Hardy said the project would provide a valuable insight into the aged care of the future.

“In the year 2051, 27 per cent of Australians will be over 65, with two million of us over 80 and many of us living in aged care facilities,” he said.

 “Aged care residents in 40 years time will have opportunities for digital communication and information access which are currently undreamt of,” he said.

Tags: grant, helping-hand, it, research, social-networking, socialngagement, technology,

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