Research has shown that technology services, particularly those services aiming to promote networks and a sense of community among elderly people, often tend to have the opposite effect and create "empty spaces” between people1.
Whilst younger generations have learned how to "fill in" these spaces, elderly people who are less comfortable with the pace of technological development and the change it brings about in their lives and the environment in which they live, often feel overwhelmed2. Increased urbanisation and migration has meant that increasing numbers of elderly people are living alone.
This demographic trend is giving rise to an increasing number of elderly who encounter serious difficulties in understanding how to structure deep, "credible" and satisfactory personal relationships through virtual technology platforms.
Building on experience thus far, project MyMATE aims at generating a novel elderly (primary) user-centred care paradigm involving the development and testing of an ICT-based solution in real life situations which will enable and support sustainable “care in the community” models for older adults.
Given the complex challenges posed by current demographic trends, the development of ICT-solutions, whilst striving for improved cost effectiveness, must also strive to humanize, rather than dehumanize care provision4. The MyMATE consortium is of the view that these challenges can be addressed effectively if a gamification approach, combined with a human touch, is applied to an ICT-based solution.