Release date: 29/05/2012
Learning to fly, sharing an amazing talent like dancing or knitting, supporting younger adults taking their first steps on the career ladder, and reviving the make do and mend mentality are just some of the positive outputs from seven aspirational service developed as part of the Independence Matters: Design and Technology Improving Quality of Life unveiled today. Independence Matters was inspired by need to stimulate business and social innovation for older adults, and is a collaboration between the Technology Strategy Board and the Design Council to develop inspiring services that promote independence in later life.
Over the last century average life expectancy for men and women has increased by 28 years on average and this trend is set to continue. It is also estimated that public spending on social care will need to triple over the next 20 years just to keep pace with an ageing population. But given those aged over 50 account for a third of the population and control an estimated 80% of its wealth, there’s potential for new approaches and services to inspire.
Independence is essential to everyone’s wellbeing. We value having autonomy, choice and control over how we live our lives. As we grow older we can experience changes that impact on our ability to exercise this choice and control, as well as life changes such as retirement and bereavement. In later life we will want services that help us to navigate these changes, stay independent and live our lives the way we want to.
The new services unveiled today are:
Casserole is a unique food sharing network, bringing local communities together around delicious home-cooked food.
League of Meals helps everybody to cook better and waste less by sharing older adults’ knowledge and tips about home-cooking through digital channels, and in collaborative cooking sessions.
Gusto is a self-help co-operative based in Shropshire where members can do more of the things they love, try new experiences and meet new people.
Room for Tea is a new kind of homesharing network which connects guests in need of short-term, affordable accommodation in London with hosts who have spare capacity in their homes.
The Amazings serves up classic and curious skills to learn that you wouldn’t find anywhere else. They take the life experience of passionate older adults and turn it into unique experiences.
Meet2Eat is a new regional service for older adults that teaches a range of domestic, nutrition and kitchen basics to those that need it most, in a social setting.
The After Work Club is a new social network for men who don’t want to be ‘retired’. It aims to inspire, connect and empower them to do something amazing with this time in their lives.
Jackie Marshall-Cyrus, Lead Specialist Assisted Living Innovation Platform at the Technology Strategy Board said:
“Independence Matters: Design and Technology Improving Quality of Life is about empowering older adults, developing resilience and keeping them happy and healthy. We’re delighted that Independence Matters has led to development of services that embody positive attitudes toward age and later life, and have the potential to operate sustainably."
Chief Design Officer of the Design Council Mat Hunter, said:
“After six months of development, we have seven new services at proof of concept or in the early stages of operation. Some focus on enabling
older adults to play an active role in their community, in particular beyond their immediate peer groups. Others focus on learning new things and making new connections. They represent inspiring examples of the services that older adults will want more of in the future.”
The seven services in more detail
Why it matters - Lots of people are keen to volunteer in their local community but lack time and aren’t able to make the regular time commitment that more traditional volunteering opportunities often require. However, many people cook at home regularly and are happy to cook an extra portion of food and deliver it to someone close by who needs it. Casserole provides a new way for people to ‘micro volunteer’ as well as promoting connections between people of all ages in a local community.
How it works - Casserole lets you choose when you cook and share an extra plate of dinner, however often it suits you. In return, you get to become part of a growing community of avid home chefs in your area while making a real difference in your community. On the flip side, if you are someone who struggles to cook for yourself, perhaps due to disability, limited mobility, illness or even a short term problem like a broken leg, Casserole will help connect you with local home cooks who will deliver fresh, homemade meals, served up with a bit of friendly neighbourliness for you to enjoy.
The team - Murtaza Abidi, Rachel Karasik, Jason Cooper and Ed Davey, FutureGov
League of Meals (http://www.leagueofmeals.org/)
Why it matters - The team’s early research with older adults yielded insights about the power of cooking and sharing meals to facilitate social interactions and engage people of all ages. League of Meals brings its members into the current topical discussions around sustainable food and provides an opportunity to showcase what we can learn from this generation. The service addresses the issue of food waste with a positive attitude by tapping into the older adults’ can do attitude. By sharing the skills and experience of League of Meals members, the service aims to help people to cook better and save money, and focus on skill and intuition over recipes.
How it works - We bring older adults together to cook and share their ideas and tips for cooking, not with a recipe, but with the ingredients to hand, making the most of ingredients rather than letting food go to waste. The content is shared with the wider public through digital channels. The team are currently experimenting with different ways to create and present this content in an engaging format.
The team - Johanna Kollmann and Emily Underwood, Sidekick Studios
Why it matters - The traditional model of social care looks at providing for a need, and rationing this. Gusto focuses on how people want to live in later life and supports them to develop new behaviours and relationships to do so. Gusto’s vision is a resilient, active, vibrant community of older adults. The springboard for the idea was the formation of People2People, a spin-out social enterprise led by social workers, and the recognition that the future of social care lies in enablement and building independence and resilience. Gusto is a self-help co-operative based in Shropshire where members can do more of the things they love, try new experiences and meet new people.
How it works - Gusto enables more adults to thrive in later life by encouraging them to:
Get involved — Gusto lets members know about activities going on in their area that they might enjoy and puts them in touch with a Gusto Ambassador to be their key contact and friendly face.
Meet new people — members are put in touch with others who they might get along with or who could give them a bit of support.
Share skills — members are encouraged to share the things they are great at with other members, through organised activities and events.
The team - Jo Kilcoyne, Arren Roberts, Ian Drysdale and Stephen Chandler, Shropshire Council; Sarah Dillon and Mark Donovan, People2People; and Friday, Tech Partner
Room for Tea (http://www.roomfortea.com/)
Why it matters - Room for Tea benefits and connects two different groups – interns and older adults. Research by the Room for Tea team shows that over a third of unpaid interns working in London are unable to live at home free of charge or afford to pay rent. Older hosts using the service benefit from additional income and the opportunity to share their home with someone, on a flexible basis to suit their needs.
How it works - Once a host is registered and verified, an online profile is created which can be viewed by guests who have signed up to Room for Tea. Hosts and potential guests can get in touch via Skype, and if both parties are happy, a match is then made. Guests and hosts are encouraged to share their hobbies and interests with each other. Room for Tea also offers guests and hosts the chance to link up with each other at events, meetings and online groups, to encourage them to form a network of contacts for their time in London and beyond.
The team - Milena Bottero, The Settlement; and Joseph Smith and Tom Tobia, FutureGov
The Amazings (http://www.theamazings.com/)
Why it matters - The Amazings originated from initial research the team undertook when thinking about developing a different idea targeted at an older audience. They were struck by how many vibrant, interesting and interested older adults they met and how little opportunity there was for them to share their skills and experience or socialise outside of their peer group. The Amazings aims to help people identify their ‘amazingness’ and share it with others, of all ages.
How it works - The Amazings enable any retired person with an amazing skill (and that doesn’t need to be underwater ukelele playing, it could be dancing, knitting, laying the perfect brick wall, astronomy — any kind of talent or knowledge) to turn it into an event. They split the proceeds 70/30 in exchange for providing the marketplace and the advertising. The Amazings believe everyone has a bit of amazingness in them, and want to help them share it.
The team - Katie Harris, Marie Ullstrom, Rich Brown and Felix Cohen, The Amazings; and Nikki Sherry and Adil Abrar, Sidekick Studios
Why it matters - Some older adults may have historically relied on their partner, family or care network for shopping, cooking and eating. If their situation changes they may not be equipped with the skills or knowledge to cook or shop for themselves, which can lead to malnutrition. Meet2Eat empowers the older adult to boost their own nutritional knowledge and skills in a new social way. The team believes this progressive approach
to eating, shopping and cooking helps blend modern nutritional thinking with the domestic needs and culinary habits of older adults.
How it works - Meet2Eat engages with a variety of older adults, but primarily those whose circumstances mean that they have limited nutritional skills or confidence. People can be referred to the service via a GP, family member or carer. The service is then delivered through a combination of interactive demonstrations, group and solo activities and guided learning. A bespoke Meet2Eat app is used to evaluate each individual’s particular needs and experience in conjunction with a structured course book called ‘Your Recipe’.
The team - Ben Davies, Adam Eager and Simon Levi, Rodd Design; Adrian Jevans, VISION Culture CIC; and Sue Guilding, Nutrition Consultant
The After Work Club (http://www.theafterworkclub.co.uk)why/)
Why it matters - During their initial research theteam were struck by stories they heard from retired men about how they missed the structure and social network that employment provided. They also heard how retirement is changing, with many people now working part time, or undertaking
consultancy or portfolio work. The After Work Club was inspired by the opportunity to provide a service that helps older men make the most of
retirement. It aims to help develop and sustain health, happiness and social connections in later life.
How it works - The After Work Club provides inspiration, connections, impetus and tools to help redefine retirement.
Discover — Read inspirational stories: Hear from other retired men about trips, expeditions and ventures they’ve undertaken after retirement.
Do — Join events, start events, get involved: From each story, there is a related event where After Work Club members can sign up and join a group to try their hand at something new.
Connect — Talk, learn, discuss and build a network: Members will be able to make public commitments to a goal, create milestones, groups, followers and events to support them in achieving it.
Share — Meet, share and inspire others: Regular talks bring members together in person to share their experiences.
The team - Emma Gasson, Deborah Szebeko and Zoe Bierman, thinkpublic; Karen Prothero and Ruth Baker, Fitness Industry Association; and Howard Sharman, Consultant
Notes to editors
For further information and interview opportunities and images, please contact:
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About the programme - Independence Matters: Design and Technology Improving Quality of Life is a collaboration between the Technology Strategy Board and the Design Council to develop inspiring services that promote independence in later life. The programme is specifically aimed at supporting service innovation for older adults as opposed to product development.
At its heart are the following beliefs:
There is a significant need for
business and social innovation to develop new services for older adults
We need to rethink and change
deep-rooted negative attitudes towards ageing and old age.
Creative thinking, design
approaches and the innovative application of existing technology can all play a
critical role in developing these services.
During the programme we’ve run two business innovation competitions and one schools competition addressing two key aspects of independence: eating well and social connectedness. We’ve used the business competitions to find and support creative and commercially viable ideas for services that can make a difference to older adults. We specifically looked for service ideas enabled by existing technology and informed by the human-centred perspective and methods of design. When thinking about social connectedness we were interested in intergenerational approaches. This resulted in a schools challenge which brought together different generations, working with design mentors to harness the imagination and creativity of younger people and older adults.
Working with older adults and building relationships - Collectively the seven teams have spoken with more than 2000 older adults and worked closely with more than 400 older adults to develop their ideas. Each team has painstakingly built up a dedicated community of core supporters who have taken a leading role in the development of the service.
Technology Strategy Board - The Technology Strategy Board is all about driving innovation. Our role is to stimulate business and technological innovation in areas which offer the greatest scope for boosting UK growth and productivity, as well as improved quality of life for all our citizens. We promote, support and invest in innovation, development and commercialisation. We share knowledge and stimulate new ideas by bringing people together to address societal challenges and make new advances. We advise government and work with partners to remove barriers to innovation and to accelerate the exploitation of new innovations. We work in areas where there are clear benefits to business, people and the economy thereby turning the challenges and opportunities of today into the growth sectors of tomorrow.
Assisted Living Innovation Platform - Independence Matters: Design and Technology Improving Quality of Life is a programme of work within the Technology Strategy Board’s Assisted Living Innovation Platform. This is a five year programme that specifically addresses opportunities presented by the global phenomenon of population ageing. We aim to unlock new markets and opportunities for economic growth and quality of life for our citizens. We drive innovation to meet the demand for independent lifestyles, wellness and improved quality of life for the future.
Design Council - The Design Council enables people to use design to transform communities, business and the environment for the better. As an enterprising charity, our work places design at the heart of creating value by stimulating innovation in business and public services, improving our built environment and tackling complex social issues. We inspire new design thinking, encourage public debate and inform government policy to improve everyday life and help meet tomorrow’s challenges today.
Design Council Challenges - The Design Council’s Challenges team runs competitions that use design to address societal issues. We show how
design can create practical solutions to complex problems and stimulate opportunities for enterprise.
Design and technology improving quality of life - Good design shapes the things that we interact with, be they products, services or environments, until they are useful, usable and even delightful. To achieve this, designers need to develop a deep understanding of the, often
latent, needs and wants of people. The creative tools, techniques and processes which designers are trained in help them to generate new ideas and creative solutions to difficult problems. Technology is a powerful tool for business innovation. Service enterprises, especially social enterprises, start with people. The innovative application of existing technologies is particularly valuable to these enterprises for its ability to enable human interactions and to do so at scale and relatively cheaply.
 Life expectancy at birth and at age 65 by local areas in the UK, ONS, 2007-2009
 Living Well at Home Inquiry, All Parliamentary Group for Housing and Care for Older People, 2011
 Carrigan M, and Smigin I. Advertising in an Aging Society, 2000