THAW – helping to improve the quality of life for elderly people with mental health issues

Today we went to the THAW – Technology for Healthy Ageing & Wellbeing Conference at University of Sheffield.  An all day event, we missed most of the first half owing to other commitments.

Highly interesting -it focused on evaluating computer and other electronic devices for their ease of use and accessibility for people with impairments ranging from hard of hearing to mobility and medical conditions which impacts on social inclusion.  Equipment that we evaluated included the obvious such as the whole range of tablets and mobile devices to less obvious appliances such as automated medication dispensers and electric gauges- the kit used to identify where to find electric cables in plastered walls thereby preventing the dire consequences of self-electrocution. 🙂

THAW’s continuous and on-going research focused around how technology can support mental well-being in later life.  The event literature states that the purpose of this event was to encourage people from all walks of life to learn how technology could be used to identify depression, alleviate loneliness or be used as therapy.  Based at the UoS Portobello site on Maplin Street.  We heard three PhD students outline their research interests.  They received an immense amount of constructive feedback from the event design, presentation of the kit, bugs or other issues affecting the software or equipment.  They are very keen for people to make contact, be involved with their research and related activities.

As impressive was the attendance and turnout.  The buzz in the room was exciting and energising as people worked with each other from a multi-disciplinary environment from Commissioning or Care Home Managers as well as pensioners and young people working in this environment.

In addition to meeting new people, we also renewed contact with people who had attended our recent events on improving the quality of life for people in later life.

Great event on an incredibly interesting and worthwhile area of work.  For anyone who wants to develop their interests in this area, THAW’s contact details are:  www.thaw.org.uk or http://www.catch.org.uk.  Email c.wills@sheffield.ac.uk or call Corinne Wills on 0114 222 6123.

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About actionforinvolvment

We're an independent think tank, founded in 2006 to bring people in our communities together with policymakers and stakeholders. We create space often in a workshop format to pool ideas, develop networks and tackle hot topics. Since 2009, we’ve focused on the sustainability agenda such as: climate change, energy, housing, technology, transport with interest in:education, health, welfare, regulation and enforcement. Our latest project is funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering Ingenious Grant and our next event on 27th June 2013 includes George Monbiot with other high level environmental policy makers.
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