- about us
ONLINE communities Living Lab is one of the 6 Care Living Labs in Flanders (http://www.zorgproeftuinen.be/en), Belgium, established in 2014. We provide a platform for public sector, the non-profit, the industry and research to work together, investigate challenges of vulnerable people to age in place and demonstrate innovative solutions focusing on community dynamics and social media. Featuring three experimental areas or online neighborhoods spread over two Belgian cities, Bruges and Ostend, the lab is driven by a partnership between the two local governments, an association without lucrative purpose (www.blueassist.eu) , an IT company (www.cubigo.us), and two university colleges.
The purpose of the ONLINE communities living lab is to deliver innovation in home care to improve ageing in place. ONLINE communities assists in exploring four opportunities for innovation in (home) care:
Experiments take place in one of our three natural testing areas or online neighborhoods. These experimental areas allow us to:
The lab reaches out to companies (care, IT, telecoms, transport), start-ups & developers, home care organizations, welfare organizations, service centers, mutual aid societies, residential care providers, healthcare and care professionals, local governments, senior citizens groups, voluntary carers organizations, patient associations, etc. to start up an experiment and deliver innovative solutions to ageing in place problems.
References and Track Record
Since the launch in 2014 the Living Lab supported several projects. 3 projects to illustrate the type of experiments that are running on the ONLINE communities living lab:
Local social services identify a lot of loneliness amongst its civilians. At the same time they diagnose that they do not have (yet) the tools to fight loneliness. This project aims at building a (local) social network among socially isolated elderly people. During 10 weekly meetings in small groups participants learn to use an iPad, subsequent they can visit 10 monthly (ICT) support meetings. During the project (one year) the participant borrows an iPad. The focus of the meetings (next to e-inclusion) is to strengthen the personal network and to create a new network amongst the participants. The collaboration with ONLINE communities consists of support in the elaboration of the project in more detail, the recruitment of the participants, support in co-creation sessions with the end-users, support in setting up cooperation with local stakeholders, lending iPads, support in the consolidation and generalization of the project and monitoring of effects.
Care service providers are confronted with a big amount of care needs. At the same time, a relevant part of the elderly in need cannot reach for the appropriate care service. The project ‘Living and Care Network Assebroek’ aims at building a local collaboration network between care providers, a single point of contact in the neighborhood and a diverse supply of collective services in order to meet the needs of the elderly in this neighborhood. The collaboration with ONLINE communities consists of support in the elaboration of the project in more detail, support in setting up cooperation with local stakeholders, support in co-creation sessions with the stakeholders and end-users, support in the consolidation and generalization of the project and monitoring of effects.
The objective of this project is, on the one hand, to increase the well-being among people over 65 by focusing on social contacts, meaningfulness and, on the other hand, finding practical solutions for minor support requests outside of family and professional care. The project wishes to achieve this by creating new, sustainable connections in the a community of a few streets. In this project we focus on 2 connection pathways: (1) People over 65 can address minor requests from the neighborhood (promoting active ageing) (2) neighborhoods residents and passers-by can address minor requests for support from persons over 65 in the neighborhood (promoting solidarity between the generations). At the end of the project, a package must be developed including a method and support tools for integrating such a dynamic in other neighborhoods. The collaboration with ONLINE communities consists of support in the elaboration of the project in more detail, support in setting up cooperation with local stakeholders, support in organizing co-creation sessions with the stakeholders and end-users and monitoring of effects.