Background: The babyboomgeneration is approaching retirement. Besides the political, economic and social concerns about greying of the western societies, the vision on becoming older is moving from 'elderly as a dependent group' towards a focus on 'active aging'. The aim of active aging is to increase social, economic, cultural and societal participation of elderly and to augment their quality of life. A particular issue is the role of information- and communication technology (ICT).
Scope: This contribution reports on a literature study done for the Flemish Parliament on the expected needs and preferences of the future elderly and on how ICT could support these needs. This literature review will be followed by stakeholder consultations and the development of images of lay citizens on their future expectations on ICT-use and aging. The literature study discusses different life domains such as family life, social networks, health and support, work, voluntary work, leisure time, mobility and safety. Particular for this research is that the diversity of the elderly group is taken into account : e.g. different age groups and life stages, cultural groups, gender etc.
Results: Very little empirical findings are readily available on ICT and the complex world on aging. ICT is often optimistically and normatively proposed as a solution for the problems of intergenerational solidarity and the decreasing possibilities of formal care systems and informal care. ICT can support the development of social networks and participation, it can support tele-health and distance learning and support independent living at home. It is also proposed as a means to support paid work adapted to the needs of aging people. ICT can support maintaining leisure activities and can improve the mobility of elderly to counteract against social isolation.
Conclusion: currently it lacks in depth critical insights in the particular needs, problems and demands for the different subgroups of elderly populations and on the evolving needs of elderly over the life course. These in depth insights are needed though for developing future (policy) programs on ICT and aging.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 27 Sep 2011

    Research areas

  • older adults, ICT, active aging, diversity

ID: 30526073