The Eighth Government Report on Older People deals with "Older People and Digitalization", focusing on current developments changing our society in many ways and in various sectors. That is true for the lives of older people, too, for whom the use of technical devices and applications is increasingly important for self-reliance and social participation.
Technical devices and applications can facilitate everyday tasks and thus allow a more independent life for people with physical or mental impairments. Furthermore, the demand for technical solutions drives further research and technical development, making the development of these products a promising economic factor. The health and care sector's hope is that technical applications will diminish the individual work load, support staff, and perhaps also cut costs.
Against the background of these various dynamics and interests, for the policy of the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, it's important to know how mechanization actually supports older peoples' independence and social participation. The expert commission responsible for the Eighth Report on Older People thus seeks to analyse techniques contributing to the well-being of current and future generations of older people.
The report will focus on aspects of social participation, the formation of social networks in older age, the development of neighbourhood and community, the organisation of support networks, and mobility and housing for older people. The report will centre around the actual benefits of the different technical applications serving older people, and the requirements and/or barriers for using these technologies. Along with this, ethical and legal implications will be discussed regarding the use of technologies, especially in notably sensitive application areas, such as the health and care sector. Aspects of data protection and of informational self-determination (the right to decide disclosure of personal data) will also be considered here. This range of questions needs to be discussed in light of the diversity of life circumstances of older people. Also, stereotypes of ageing that appear in debates about age and technology and in the development of age-related technological products need to be reflected upon. Not least, it is important to consider the intended and unintended social consequences of the technologisation of everyday life in older age.
The Commission of the Report on Older People has been asked to distil concrete recommendations from their investigation into these issues. The commission works as an independent body of experts and is preparing the report on its own authority and without directives by others.
Further information about the Eighth Report on Older People, future events, and the members of the Commission, can be found on www.achter-altersbericht.de.