This paper reports on two recent studies in Australia that relate to aged services and the Web. Interviews with the aged and their carers about aged care needs in a regional area in N.S.W. (Wallace, Newton & Garbutt 2003) revealed that many older people (over 65 years old) were using the Web and e-mail to access information, education and to combat isolation. Access to information and services that would contribute to older people's independence for as long as possible, preferably in their own homes, was important. This study raised a number of issues regarding Internet access and the usability of the Web for the aged and their carers to access aged support services. Based on the information requirements emerging from the aged care survey some Australian Web sites catering for aged services information were surveyed and recommendations were made to inform better practice for their development. In particular, it is proposed that there is a need for improved dynamic contextualisation of these Web sites: the need to customise Web information for these users and to structure the Web site to provide relevant entry points and information in a number of ways reflecting different information needs and contributions. A 'one-stop shop' approach providing well contextualised Web sites that include the support of a maintained, searchable database of associated services in a regional format would provide a good basis for the aged and their carers accessing the Web.
Newton, D. & Wallace, M 2003, 'Ageing on the web: the role of the web in supporting aged services', in A Treloar & A Ellis (eds), AusWeb03 : changing the way we work : proceedings of AusWeb03, the ninth Australian World Wide Web Conference , Gold Coast, Qld, 5-9 July, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW.