In essence, the centre coordinates research projects addressing the physical, cognitive and social consequences of ageing, all informed by ethnographic research and supported by a shared pool of knowledge and engineering resources. It aims to discover and deliver technology solutions which support independent ageing, ideally in a home environment, based on the assumption that this will improve the quality of life of older citizens while reducing the burden on carers and on the healthcare system.
As part of the initiative, an ethnographic research unit (ERU) was established within the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology at the National University of Ireland (NUI), Galway. Since its inception the ERU has conducted ethnographic research with individuals across Ireland – from inner city Dublin to remote areas of Counties Roscommon, Cork and Kilkenny. This research has been used to support clinically oriented work, to shape the direction of research projects and to learn how new technology was used in the homes of older people.
Looking back after nearly three years of multi-disciplinary work, the ERU felt that it would be worthwhile to bring together in one accessible volume a sample of their interactions and perspectives. The objective is to showcase some of their achievements and highlight the collaborative nature of their endeavours.