Cognitive Accessibility and Technology Use when Ageing in home and Society (CACTUS)

Living and ageing with cognitive impairments in the technological landscapes of homes and public places.

In recent years there has been an increased emphasis on participation in society for people with different kinds of functional impairments. This requires an accessible society. Much focus has been placed on physical accessibility, while little is known of the cognitive aspects of accessibility, particularly when it comes to public space. Technology use is very important in today’s society, and peoples’ participation in everyday life are increasingly influenced by the development and use of technology; both digital and analogue Everyday Technologies, ET (e.g. smart phones and cell phones, electric household equipment, cash machines, Internet) as well as Assistive Technologies, AT (e.g. electronic calendars and reminders). 

Earlier we presented our research as organised in two tracks. The first track studied the match between people with cognitive impairment as users of technology and the specific demands that technological artefacts and services put on users. The second track focused on accessibility and usability of public spaces, and how engagement and participation can be facilitated and supported for people with cognitive disabilities.

These two tracks have over time come to overlap more and more, and they can no longer be separated. That is why we now present our research simply through our research projects, joined by the programme heading. The long term goal of this research program is to develop new knowledge that can facilitate better support and increased accessibility and usability of ETs and ATs, as well as of activities and places within and outside the home, for people who live and age with cognitive disability. By this we wish to contribute to improved participation in activities in homes and societies, in work as well as in leisure, for these people.

The projects’ overall goals are

  • To critically examine the conditions for technology use in different environments among older adults, particularly those with cognitive impairments, and to identify how technologies (including eHealth technologies) can be adapted and developed to better meet these people’s needs and wishes,
  • To develop new knowledge about the interactions between the requirements of technologies and the resources of these people, within their everyday lives and the environments where they live, to identify deficiencies in the interplay and new understanding of the potential consequences of these, as well as how this interplay can be facilitated and improved,
  • To develop new knowledge about the conditions for participation in public space and life outside home for these people, and to identify and try ways to improve both accessibility in different environments and support to participation for them.

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Some of these projects overlap, and they all continuously build on each other. The research is undertaken in collaboration with different disciplines nationally and internationally, and in close collaboration with the health care practice field, aiming at continuous development through knowledge dissemination and communication.

Leading researchers

Camilla Malinowsky, Anna Brorsson and Louise Nygård.

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