Smart City Forum “Active Ageing in the City”

On the 17th October 2017, 90 senior citizens as well as a specialist audience came to the Smart City Forum – Active Ageing in the City held in the Vienna Planning Workshop to discuss quality of life in old age and the WAALTeR research project.

Ageing has many sides and is heterogenous. Statistically speaking, both quality of life and life satisfaction decrease with age – but activity and mobility are the proven means for combatting this! Technology can have both positive and negative effects, and should in no way be an end in itself. The needs should define the technology - technology to support people!

 

After Planning Director Thomas Madreiter gave his opening address, where he explained the Smart City topic and reported on the subject of ageing, social gerontologist Vera Gallistil held a highly factual and honest talk on the quality of life in old age.

 

The different images of ageing and its stigmatisation, as well as the key factors for living quality in old age were presented. This dealt with different types of ageing and the process of deprofessionalisation, which, due to a lack of structure and more freedom, is often felt to be rather ambivalent. The question of whether technology leads to more activity or indeed loneliness in old age was discussed. Here, the figures drew two conclusions: The use of technology and AAL can improve quality of life in old age. However, it can also lead to social isolation – which is why it is very important not to view technology use as an end in itself, but rather as an aid, and to analyse the exact purpose behind it.

 

The propositions from the talk were discussed during the subsequent panel discussion moderated by Uli Waibel from AAL Austria and featuring Ulrike Huemer (CIO of the City of Vienna), Kristina Hametner (City of Vienna, Office of Women’s Health and Health Targets of the City of Vienna), Christopher Frauenberger (Institute for Design and Assessment of Technology, TU Wien), Vera Gallistl (Department of Sociology, University of Vienna), and senior citizens Susanne Biri and Rudolf Tuppa. Senior citizens present within the audience used the discussion with the podium to voice their concerns for the city. They also raised questions on free computer courses and the like for senior citizens, as well as senior-oriented vending machines and the request for these to consider the deterioration of vision and hearing in old age. Senior citizens want to be heard and enjoy platforms where they can articulate their needs.

 

The contents and processes of the WAALTeR project were explained in its presentation, which detailed what WAALTeR comprises and what it means to take part. After enrolment, 83 test households will test the WAALTeR technologies and services for 18 months from March 2018 and be surveyed on their experiences by WAALTeR project partners at intervals of 3 months. As of now and until December, a range of info cafés exist, where you can find out more information on the project and try out the technologies and services for yourself. If you are interested in taking part, then you can fill out an information sheet in one of the info cafés and will then be officially invited to participate in the project.

 

Further information is available at www.waalter.wien or on the WAALTeR project page.