Tangible Realties: Using objects and digital technologies to support the transition into sheltered accommodation

How can you reduce anxiety for older people transitioning into care? This research looks to co-create moments of connection with the people and spaces that will make up future residents' new homes.

What did the project involve? 

The research explored how future technology might create a feeling of being connected to a place, space, things and people during the transition into care and beyond.

Transition into sheltered housing often comes at a time of crisis for an older person and can create a sense of stigma, confusion and loss. However, in the long-term, older people report enhanced feelings of safety, belonging, independence and community.

This research team worked with future residents, current residents and staff who support the transition process. They explored how staff and residents get to know one another and how they feel they might have been better supported to reduce the anxiety and stress caused by the changes.

Who are the team and what do they bring?

  • Roisin McNaney (Computer Science) works in human-computer interaction. She has expertise in engaging health communities in technology driven research.
  • Rebecca Bangay (iBexMedia)
  • Helen Manchester (Education) works on co-design and collaborative projects with older people in care settings.
  • Richard Pendlebury (Anchor Society) is interested in helping disadvantaged people to have better life quality.

What were the results?

The researchers created a telematic system to ease the process of transitioning into care. This included 3D maps to help give a better sense of the housing facilities and unfamiliar environment. It also included social aspects of the transition through remote engagement with staff and residents. The team explored how stories and memories could be attached to objects and shared to build social relationships.

The research team sought to apply for further funding to evaluate the prototype technology developed within this project.