Social inclusion through technically- supported communications options in a town-country comparison


The population is becoming ever older. Whether in a block of flats in the town or on a farm in the countryside, everybody wants to live as long as possible in their own familiar environment. It is still unclear what factors positively influence the life of elderly people.

The aim of the SONIA project is to examine the connective possibilities of modern technologically-supported forms of communication in the everyday life of elderly people in existing care infrastructures. Additionally concrete services should be developed to support and encourage an independent, self-determined and socially-integrated life, thus setting goals of prevention of social isolation in old age.

Central to the research approach is the inclusion of all parties involved, both directly and indirectly, and the holistic view of the development process. This integrates not only the users' needs, the usage potential and sustainable business models, but also the risks and challenges of an increasing digitalization of everyday life, living and healthcare.

Project partners

Furtwangen University (Project management)
Geriatric Centre, University Hospital Tübingen
Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering and Organisation IAO
Fraunhofer Institute for System and Innovations research ISI
Development centre Gut altwerden GmbH

Duration: 3 years, 2013 - 2015

The project is funded through the "Medicine and Healthcare" programme of the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Family, Women and the Elderly.


Prof. Dr. Stefan Selke
Vice Dean
Faculty of Health, Safety, Society
Furtwangen Campus, Room O 0.03
07723 920-2873