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“Standards for ageing well should mainstream an outcome-based approach,” says older persons’ representative Claude Connan

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An adequate representation of all consumers in the standardisation process is a must to ensure the accuracy of standards. With societies ageing, it is key to ensure that representatives of older users are involved. Convinced of the above, the first meeting of the newly established STAIR-AHA Platform (STAndardisation, Innovation and Research around Active and Healthy Ageing) that was recently held in Berlin, invited Claude Connan, representative of Générations Mouvement* in France.

In a short interview carried out by PROGRESSIVE partner AGE Platform Europe, Claude Connan stressed the importance of an outcome-based approach when considering technology use by older adults:

We are not going to teach how the system works to the users, there is no need to understand what is behind it: the most important issue is that the service is provided in a way that it answers the users’ expectations.”

Reflecting on the challenges brought to us by ageing demographics, Claude focused on the importance to keep ageing people active contributors of society for as long as possible and thus to align our objectives towards health promotion, disease prevention and earlier detection of frailty. While technologies are now clearly playing a role in our daily lives, it is of the utmost importance to ensure the accessibility and user-friendliness of these new instruments:

I used to work as an engineer for airborne platforms. When you design a cockpit, you must consider that when in the air, the pilot only has a very limited amount of time to make a decision. If he cannot react rapidly, he is dead! Same goes for everyday products and services: we need easy-to-use interfaces that do not change with every update nor when we go from one provider to another”.

Standards are a strategic tool to consider especially in regard of the interoperability of products. Standardised interfaces and a continuity in the way products and services are displayed would facilitate their use and ensure their sustainability. Eventually, standards – if accurate – will result in cost savings to the benefits of both companies and consumers.

So where to start? Claude emphasised the importance that standardisers should adopt a common understanding of what services to deliver to answer the users’ expectations. He called for a shift from provider-related interfaces to standardised ones and also stressed the importance of education of both the providers who must better take account of the users’ preferences in a genuine way, and of the final users who will need to progressively adapt to services that may be delivered in an innovative way.

* Générations Mouvement is a French federation of older persons’ associations gathering about 900 associations and indirectly representing 625 000 individuals. The main objective of Générations Mouvement is to keep seniors in good health and living independently at home. Equally, their objective is to challenge the representation of older adults, especially in public organisations active in the healthcare sector.

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