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September 25 2002

Technology superhighway offers 
smoother ride for older Australians

Older Australians can look forward to lifestyle improvements, better health services and reduced isolation and it is all thanks to technology.  Contrary to the adage about old dogs and new tricks, according to UniSA’s Emeritus Professor Mike Miller, given the opportunities, older people can and will embrace technology in their lives, to their great benefit. 

Professor Miller will be one of four key speakers at UniSA’s Successful Ageing Seminar  - The future is here - this Friday at City West Campus (70 North Terrace, Barbara Hanrahan Building level 2 room 09) from 2 pm to 4 pm. 

An expert in next generation telecommunications Prof Miller along with Dr Wilton Braund from the Medical Communications Association will explore and explain how wireless and satellite technologies are allowing health services to be brought to each individual more quickly and more ingeniously. 

“The changes in communications are so dynamic and will impact across such a wide range of everyday communications that they will influence the whole community,” Prof Miller said. This is not about having to go back and learn computing, it is about how these high tech developments will give individuals simpler and easier means of accessing the power of such developments particularly in the area of health.” 

Stan Salagaris from urban community developers Delfin Lend Lease will explore plans for the unique Mawson Lakes Development, a 21st century community designed to help people “age in place”. 

“This development has been planned with an underlying ethos that encourages environmental and economic sustainability, lifelong learning, technologically enhanced communications and intergenerational community development,” Salagaris says. 

“For older people it provides a neighbourhood that will continue to engage and support them. It is an integrated neighbourhood where old and young mix freely and where accommodation options will range from completely independent living, through supported at home care models and to high dependency homes, but all in the same community.” 

Jan Van Emden from Helping Hand will explain how communications tools will actually support community development at Mawson Lakes. 

“Latest census figures show that older people are quite clearly taking up use of the Internet in droves – to communicate to family and friends, research holiday options, or simply as a resource for information on a range of topics,” Van Emden says. 

“When people retire or move into an aged care facility it is often a turbulent time so they need community support more than ever. What we are attempting to model at Mawson Lakes is a community development with overlapping networks that are enhanced by new technologies. That will include social and recreational networks and networks that give older people educational support and training in new technologies designed to meet their needs.

“It is about providing people with opportunities and choices and one aspect of that is to give them access to what are in essence a new set of communication tools. New technologies are an addition not a replacement for the important interpersonal networks they enhance.” 

Bookings for the free seminar can me made by telephoning the Successful Ageing in Australia hotline on 8302 0160. 

Media contact: Michèle Nardelli (08) 8302 0966 or 041 8823673






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