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IT is now integral to life. Enabling older people to digitally participate is crucial to living autonomously and independently for longer.

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IT use is becoming increasingly important in sustaining the independence and autonomy of individuals as they age. Whether it is banking apps, accessing medical services or simply communicating with their grandchildren; older people often want to engage but lack the skills (often physical as well as mental) to do so and frequently feel overwhelmed by the technology.

Without the ability to use IT effectively older people will become increasingly marginalised and dependent, so this session presents research findings on older people’s needs, and wants – and considers how can we mobilise the vast assets we have to meet these end-user-specified requirements and capabilities.

The vision is to work together to produce sustainable and inclusive solutions, to provide what older people really want – in a meaningful connection.

About the speaker

Leela Damodaran, FAcSS, MIoD, is Professor Emerita of Digital Inclusion and Participation at Loughborough University. She specialises in the behavioural aspects and human use of information and communications technologies (ICTs), planning of change and transition, strategies for social and digital inclusion, citizen engagement and participation.

She has worked on and led a wide range of programmes and projects variously in research, consulting, or advisory roles. This has included the New Dynamics of Ageing Programme ‘Sus-IT’ project to develop understanding of the use of digital technologies by older people and solutions to promote their digital participation and the EPSRC funded KT-Equal consortium established specifically to exploit a decade of investment in ageing and disability research.

She was commissioned by DCMS in 2018 to develop the Digital Engagement ‘What Works’ Toolkit. This was completed in 2020 and originally scheduled for its official release in this year. Due to the Pandemic and subsequent financial constraints, publication has yet to happen.

As well as engaging in academic research, Leela has collaborated with government departments, local government, ‘blue-chip’ companies, and other key stakeholder groups to inform policy, strategy and design decisions relating to design of ICT products, systems and services and to digitalisation. She was a member of the Ofcom Strategic Advisory Board (OSAB), a member of the Digital Inclusion Stakeholder Group of the Government Digital Strategy team and of the DWP-led Age Action Alliance Digital Inclusion Group.

She is currently working in the following roles : Member of Leicestershire Equalities Challenge Group, Long Eaton 50+ forum, NHS ‘Digital Health Inequalities Steering Group, Ashbourne Pavilion Community Initiative (sub-group which advises and supports the Ashbourne Pavilion Development) and is an informal contributor to the Digital Inclusion Team in Greater Manchester. She is a founder member of the BCS ‘Closing the Digital Divide’ specialist group.

Leela has authored 7 books, a wide range of papers in academic journals and conference proceedings and numerous project reports

Our events are for adults aged 16 years and over.

BCS is a membership organisation. If you enjoy this event, please consider joining BCS. You’ll receive access to many exclusive career development tools, an introduction to a thriving professional community and also help us make IT good for society. Join BCS today.

This event is brought to you by: BCS Digital Divide specialist group. Supported by BCS Women and NeurodiversIT specialist groups and Hampshire and Dorset branch.

Webinar: Digital participation for all. What we can do to support older people
Date and time
Thursday 13 October, 5:00pm - 6:00pm

This event is sold out