John Richards Initiative Roundtable

The use of information and communication technology to build social inclusion is an emerging issue amongst the ageing population from rural areas. 

Jeni WarburtonA Roundtable workshop will be held at the Albury-Wodonga campus of La Trobe University on Tuesday 20 September to focus on how older people, their carers and service providers can better use technology to improve social participation.

The title of the Roundtable is Online and real time: Building social inclusion for older rural people using information and communication technologies: What are the challenges? The facilitator of the workshop is Professor Jeni Warburton, Chair of John Richards Initiative, at La Trobe University, and the event is supported by La Trobe University’s Institute of Social Participation.

Guest presenters include Professor Jeffrey Soar, Chair in Intelligent Domestic Healthcare Infrastructure, at the University of Southern Queensland and researcher Dr Dennis Wollersheim, from Health Systems Research, at La Trobe University in Melbourne. Other participants include local service providers and organisation members who have an interest and experience in the use of technology.

Many Australians are enjoying the benefits of wider social opportunities and social connectedness through their participation in virtual communities. For older Australians who have embraced and adapted technology, many report of enriched wellbeing.

‘However there is rising concern for the potential social exclusion of older people who are significantly less likely to engage and adopt technologies.’

‘This is greatly amplified for those who live in rural areas who are on the periphery of service reach and social support given their geographical location but who could benefit greatly from the use of such technologies,’ says Professor Warburton.

With the rollout of the National Broadband program and growing interest in telehealth and e-health, there are also good examples of the use of technology to involve older people in social interaction and support their own health and wellbeing.

‘There are also significant challenges to older people’s involvement and use of information and communication technologies. This workshop is set to explore the challenges and the opportunities to broaden the opportunities for social inclusion of older people from rural areas,’ says Professor Warburton.

Media Opportunity

What: John Richards Initiative, La Trobe University, Research into aged care in rural communities & Institute of Social Participation, La Trobe University

Topic: Online and real time: Building social inclusion for older rural people using information and communication technologies: What are the challenges?

Venue: La Trobe University, Albury Wodonga Campus, Board Room, Building 4.
When: 20th September 2011.  10.30 – 2.00pm

Media interviews be conducted following the seminar at 2.30pm.  Professor Jeni Warburton (JRI) and Professor Jeffrey Soar will be available to interview at that time.

For more information:

Suzie Cowan E:


For more information or to arrange an interview please contact:

Meghan Lodwick

La Trobe University Communications Officer
T:  03 9479 5353 M:  0418 495 941 E: