During recent years, the social and economic challenges that tend to be connected to the accelerating trend towards population ageing have received increasing policy attention, and the potential offered by Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for better coping with them as well. Recently, the European Commission has adopted an Action Plan on Information and Communications Technology for Ageing in the framework of its i2010 initiative.
In this context, it is highlighted that better leveraging of the potential generally provided by ICT for independent living in an ageing society represents both a social necessity and an economic opportunity. More specifically, it is emphasised that ICT holds considerable potential for more efficient management and delivery of health and social care, as well as increasing opportunities for community care, self-care and service innovation more generally. On the other hand, it has become evident that market forces alone have been insufficient to ensure the realisation of this potential. As highlighted in the Commissionâ€™s action plan, the market of ICT for ageing well in the information society is still in its nascent phase, and does not yet fully ensure the availability and take-up of the necessary ICT-enabled solutions.
This is the general background against which the â€˜ICT & Ageingâ€™ study had been launched by the European Commission in the beginning of 2008. This ambitiouse research endevour was completed in the beginning of 2010, and the main goal was to identify and understand the market barriers which currently hinder uptake of ICT for independent living and active ageing in Europe. For the first time, the study looks into the situation prevailing in 14 EU Member States, the USA and Japan with regard to the deployment situation of relevant ICTs and policy/market response respectively. It also identifies and analyses good practice and show how Europe can learn from the experience in individual countries