Living Connected is set up as a social enterprise within the iAccelerate business incubator at the Innovation Campus of the University of Wollongong, NSW. Social enterprises are commercially viable and sustainable businesses existing to benefit the public and the community, rather than shareholders and owners. They intentionally tackle social problems; enact a concern for their communities; generate a supportive and empowering workplace; provide local employment and training; and endeavour to find a balance between economic, social and environmental needs.
to be a sustainable, social enterprise promoting the wellbeing of seniors through digital inclusion
To develop and deliver a personalised, integrated and continuing service for isolated seniors so that they can enjoy social and economic wellbeing through ICT capability
- Working together with the client to determine their needs and solutions
- Focussing on the client’s personal and social wellbeing not on the technology
- Practicing social and digital inclusion so no-one is left out
- Providing rewarding local employment opportunities
- Adopting a collaborative, team-based approach to decision making
The founders of Living Connected (Helen, Kate, Corina and Alanah) are themselves senior citizens who have embraced IT. They have followed the digital revolution over many decades and enthusiastically make use of each new generation of personal computing to enrich their own lives. Over the past few years they have been involved in projects helping residents in aged-care facilities to also enrich their lives by learning to use computers. They have done research and become experts in knowing what works and what doesn’t. Now they want to put this expertise into a support program for seniors who live at home.
A review of international research in the fields of gerontology and information systems confirms the importance to continued Social Wellbeing and good Quality of Life of
(i) staying connection with family and engaged with community,
(ii) spending time on meaningful activity,
(iii) being independent and in control of everyday affairs, and
(iv) having a dignified life.
Our own research has demonstrated how many seniors who are becoming isolated at home or in care can better achieve these benefits when they learn, with help, to use IT. It is definitely not just a matter using IT for its own sake. The distinctive aspect of the Living Connected program is that top priority is given to enhancing the wellbeing of clients and each program is customised to the needs of individual clients with provision for ongoing assistance as needed.