An important aspect of active ageing is the physical-spatial-technical environment people live in. The physical-spatial-environment includes private living units, neighbourhoods, retirement communities, public transport, communication technology, etc. MOPACT chose to focus on information and communication technology (ICT), housing and mobility to identify promising and innovative approaches, which will benefit both the living conditions of older people and the prospects of relevant business firms and sectors. Activity focuses on five different European countries: Finland, Germany, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom.
ICT, housing and mobility all play a major role within the context of ageing. According to the MOPACT report, they can help to secure social inclusion of older people and increase their quality of life. Environmental factors become more and more significant with changing physical and cognitive abilities and strategies to foster social engagement of older people through improved access to buildings and public transport, strengthened intergenerational links and innovative technology have to be initiated.
The report analyses potential impact and barriers related to the three areas. In the field of ICT, despite huge potential of technologies to support independent living, mobility and access to services, including healthcare, too few products and services have been implemented on a large basis. Other barriers exist for housing, linked to the financing of adaptations of dwellings and environments. MOPACT identify four areas of action here: accessibility in and around the homes, ambient assisted living, age-friendly neighbourhoods and shared housing. Mobility is an important factor to facilitate participation in social life, access to services, etc. To enable older people to use public transport, a mobility chain including all phases of a trip must be created and ensure availability, acceptability, accessibility and affordability. The report underlined that availability is foremost a concern in rural areas and that accessibility is a requirement for barrier-free transport for all.
The different aspects of build and technological environments being closely linked to each other, the report recommends to think, design and develop them together. Greater attention has to be drawn on introduction to the market, better coordination in the innovation process and last but not least to user-integration and design for all to improve understanding of the needs and wishes of older persons.