Although the attitude towards volunteering has been catching up in the last decade in Romania, it remains mainly an attribute of younger generations. Whereas the volunteering among the elderly people still faces several important barriers, the most important for our type of projects being the scarcity of senior volunteer organizations on one hand and the low level of IT literacy among active seniors, on the other hand.

Therefore we decided to initiate ourselves (ANA) the creation of a community of seniors willing to participate in the projects testing ICT solutions for a healthy and active ageing. We took inspiration from the gamification concept of MyMate and developed an attractive offer for enrollment based mainly on healthcare assessment and counseling for healthy aging, combined with support for basic IT training and a system of rewards for effective involvement. We then started disseminating the initiative through our social media channels and through digital and personal networks, by mid of March.

We expect this community to attract the seniors who have certain ICT knowledge and don’t know how to offer it and also seniors not that ICT literate, but who are willing to learn and get involved. The continuous medical counseling, the IT trainings and the performance based reward system will nurture the creation of a group of committed and motivated senior volunteers, so that MyMate and other AAL projects will benefit in their prototype testing phases; furthermore the seniors might also become ambassadors for the post-project exploitation of the innovative solutions developed.

This community will accept also younger adults concerned about managing their stress and requiring advice on taking adequate preventive actions for a healthy aging; or needing medical counseling for their parents or older relatives; for MyMate we expect this to be an important incentive for the younger persons acting as coordinators in the care centers (who are actually overburdened with their current duties and find it difficult to involve in additional for-free activities, such as a program as ours could be perceived).