For the past few years, increasing attention has been paid to informal care with several studies suggesting that different technological solutions may effectively support informal caregivers with their duties [1, 2, 3]. These studies recurrently stress that care work is often demanding and that the results of these demands are different types of burden (e.g., psychological, physical, and emotional), which can be higher or lower depending on variables like the age, gender, and type of illness of the person receiving care [4].

Knowing that computer technologies can offer support to several activities involved in caregiving, there is a huge potential to develop services and technologies for people who engage in it, especially in regards to social support, which can possibly be achieved in three dimensions [5]: informational (flow of information, advices and opinions to help caregivers understand their problems), tangible (support in terms of goods or services for achieving daily tasks), and emotional (providing with the feelings of sympathy, empathy, friendship, and/or love).

An evaluation of the Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) Program has shown that the development of products and services in AAL have largely been driven by a focus on technology and a neglect of factual demands of the users, although their positive attitude is a precondition for success of assistive technologies [6]. Therefore, participatory approaches are not only desirable from an ethical point of view, but also necessary for the design of appropriate technology. This workshop sets out to explore and elaborate on these issues.


[1]   Magnusson, L., Hanson, E., Britto, L., Berthold, H., Chambers, M., and Daly, T. 2002. Supporting Family Carers Through the Use of Information and Communication Technolgy – the EU Project ACTIONInternational Journal of Nursing Studies. 39, 2002, 369-381.

[2]   Müller, S., Sanit, M., and Sixsmith, A. 2008. Eliciting User Requirements for Ambient Assisted Living: Results of the SOPRANO Project. In eChallenges 2008, Stockhilm, Sweden. IOS Press, Amsterdam, 81-88.

[3]   Nies, H.2004. A European Research Agenda or Integrated Care for Older People. 24 p.

[4]   Pochobradsky, E., Bergman, F., Brix-Samoylenko, H., Erfkamp, H., and Laub, R.2005. Situation pflegender AngehörigerEndbericht Österreichisches Bundesinstitut für Gesundheitswesen (ÖBIG) im Auftrag des Bundesministeriums für soziale Sicherheit, Generationen und Konsumentenschutz. 42 p.

[5]   Breskovic, I., de Carvalho, A.F.P., Schinkinger, S., and Tellioğlu, H. 2013. Social Awareness Support for Meeting Informal Carers’ Needs: Early Development in TOPIC. In Adjunct Proceedings of the 13th European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (ECSCW 2013), Paphos, Cyprus. Department of Computer Science Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark, 3-8.

[6]   Podtschaske, B., Glende, S., and Nedopil, C. 2010. Nutzerabhängige Innovationsbarrieren im Bereich altersgerechter Assistenzsysteme, 1. Studie im Rahmen der AAL-Begleitforschung des Bundesministeriums für Bildung und Forschung. Abschlussbericht. Available from: AAL-Nutzerstudie_Final.pdf  [last accessed:  26 Sep 2013]