Abstract. Sofi Fristedt, Jönköping University, Sweden
Welfare@home - Challenges with welfare technology for older social service recipients and their home care service staff.
Implementation and benefits of welfare technologies are clearly on the agenda in home care services. This holds true not least in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic as welfare technologies makes it possible to provide home care services to risk groups while maintaining social distance. Nevertheless, implementation and use of welfare technologies is surprisingly low in Sweden, and probably much too low and slow to fulfil the national vision of being world leading in using welfare technologies to support health and well-being by 2025. As a consequence, older adults still has limited access to the documented health, well-being and quality of life benefits that welfare technologies may bring.
However, there are some important knowledge gaps to fill around welfare technologies as a recent Swedish governmental investigation applied only limited scientific evidence. For example, it is not clear how current welfare technologies, individually or in combination, support or challenge the users in terms of home care service staff and the older adults that they care for. It also largely unknown how and to what extent current welfare technologies satisfy the complex needs of older adults in home care services. As current welfare technologies are largely developed and implemented with limited or even without user involvement, there is also a risk of mismatch between what welfare technologies are available and what welfare technologies the users' need and find relevant to use. Moreover, research on how welfare technologies could be used to support independence, health and well-being in various practical settings and for different categories of older adults is scarce. In the future, increasingly diverse categories of older adults, in terms of diagnoses, ethnicity, socio-economics, technology literacy, will stay in their ordinary housing even longer and receive advanced care and home care services to a higher extent. Adding to the complexity, a diverse group of staff provides home care services to these diverse categories of older people. We explore the challenges of such diversity in each aspect of our project.
With these knowledge gaps as our vantage point, this project ideas includes to; 1) identify in what situations and how current WT challenges and fails to support older adults in home care services, 2) understand the needs of older adults and their HCS staff, and 3) suggest new and relevant WT together with rather than for the users in HCS settings. Thus as a first step, we will identify challenges experienced by HCS staff. As part of my presentation I will also present findings from the GenerationTech project that inspired the Welfare@home project, and problematise and discuss digitalisation in relation to active and healthy ageing.