CSE Embarks on Major Digital Inclusion Project | HBKU
Hamad Bin Khalifa University

Press Releases HBKU’s College of Science and Engineering Embarks on Major Digital Inclusion Project

First-of-its-kind initiative examines use of ICT by older persons and caregivers

The use of information and communications technology (ICT) to promote digital inclusion provides the foundation for a major new project by the College of Science and Engineering (CSE) at Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU). 

Working in collaboration with the University of Ottawa, the project will examine the use of ICT by older persons and their carers to support caregiving activities, independent living, and social inclusion. The initiative will also identify obstacles and highlight opportunities for greater digital inclusion and active participation in local communities. To assist, researchers will conduct semi-structured interviews in which participants will be able to describe their experiences and use of ICT in their everyday lives. An advisory committee will analyze key findings and results.

This first-of-its-kind project for Qatar will directly benefit academics, government departments and nongovernmental organizations engaged in the support of older persons and their caregivers. Local stakeholders include the Assisted Technology Center (Mada) and the Center for Empowerment and Care of Older Persons (Ehsan), both of whom are engaged in the project via collaborative institutes. Beyond providing previously unobtainable insights, research directions are also expected to stimulate the exploration of relevant service design at the government and industry level.

As part of the project launch, Dr. Dena Al Thani, Assistant Professor, CSE, said: “This project not only reflects that older persons are an integral part of the family unit in Qatar but also that family members are increasingly expected to take on caring roles. While families willingly engage in this activity, the impact on the health and wellbeing of both parties is often overlooked. Studies have shown that family caregiving is a demanding task, with 75% of carers experiencing depression and other psychological illnesses. 

“Further research nevertheless demonstrates that older persons and caregivers stand to benefit from information and communication technologies that encourage daily and participative activities. Doing so not only reduces depression and isolation but also boosts confidence, self-esteem and the ability to better manage independent living in homecare settings. As things stand, research has primarily been conducted in Europe and North America. We’re looking forward to redressing the balance for the benefit of older persons and caregivers in Qatar and the wider region.”

For more information on the work of the College of Science and Engineering, please visit cse.hbku.edu.qa 

 

Hamad Bin Khalifa University

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