Promoting Inclusive Living Via Technology-Enabled support

The INVITE project aimed to investigate how assistive and everyday technologies can be implemented in retirement living properties to improve residents’ quality of life and sustain inclusive communities.

The research, which was funded by the Longleigh Foundation, was undertaken by the University of Stirling in partnership with Stonewater to explore how technology can maximise opportunities to support residents to live well and safely, including when they develop conditions such as dementia. 

The focus of the study was driven by increasing interest within health and social care policy in assistive living technologies as tools to enable older people to ‘age in place’, retaining independence within their own homes. To date, the evidence base around the effectiveness of such technology is somewhat equivocal at best, with major studies showing limited impact on older people’s wellbeing, or on levels of demand for health and social care services.

Barriers to uptake and high rates of abandonment have been attributed to lack of involvement of older people and those who care for them in the process of implementing technological solutions to age-related problems. Hence, the INVITE project took a co-production approach, working closely with Stonewater residents, family members, staff and other stakeholders to examine how technology can be identified, adopted and used in a person-centred fashion.

The project worked across three of Stonewater’s retirement living schemes over 18 months, a report of the findings is now available. The findings will be used to develop good practice guidance for implementation of technology-enabled support that emphasises equality, inclusive design and linking people together within inclusive environments.

Research findings

Full report

Read the full report from the INVITE project here.

Summary report

You can also read a summary of the findings in this short document.


Or watch our video that brings the findings to life:

The INVITE project podcast

In this episode guest host Dr Vikki McCall talks about what we've learned from the INVITE project.


Further resources


Our initial scoping review looked at the existing research around assistive and mainstream technology and explored co-production as an approach to involving older people effectively.

Watch an earlier project update to see how fieldwork was conducted.

News and views

The project team have written a blog to share their learnings and reflections from the project. You can read their blog here.

You can also watch our HAPPI Hour event, hosted by the Housing Learning and Improvement Network. Hear from Emma Tobin, Head of Wellbeing at Stonewater, and Dr Vikki McCall, Senior Lecturer in Social Policy and Housing, University of Stirling, as they discuss the findings. 


Stonewater project team

Helena Doyle, Customer Experience Director, Wellbeing

As Customer Experience Director, Wellbeing, Helena is responsible for both the strategic direction and day to day delivery of our retirement living service, as well as our specialist services supporting young people and survivors of domestic abuse.

Helena is leading the transformation of the way we work with older people, embracing strengths-based approaches and co-production.

Emma Tobin, Head of Wellbeing

Emma has worked in housing for 21 years, with 16 years’ experience of managing older people’s services. 

As Head of Wellbeing, her focus is on driving and championing the wellbeing agenda across our Retirement Living services. She leads on initiatives developed in collaboration with our communities to ensure that everyone can live an active and healthy life.

University of Stirling project team

Dr Vikki McCall, Senior Lecturer in Social Policy & Housing, Principal Investigator

Dr McCall is Senior Lecturer in Social Policy and Housing and Deputy Associate Dean of Learning and Teaching for the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Stirling.

Her work has included extensive research on housing and ageing, focusing on the role of front-line workers, service users, volunteers and the policy process. 

Dr Grant Gibson, Lecturer in Dementia Studies, Co-Investigator

Dr Gibson is a Lecturer in Dementia Studies in the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Stirling. 

Grant’s work explores the use of technology to support dementia care, and focuses on how technologies are deployed and used be people within a variety of living environments.

Dr Steve Rolfe, Lecturer in Social Policy

Dr Rolfe is a Lecturer in Social Policy in the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Stirling.

His research focuses on different aspects of housing, with a particular focus on the impacts of different forms of housing service and support.

Angela Pusram, Project Assistant

Angela is currently conducting a PhD within the Dementia Studies team, specifically looking at how we can optimise the use of  mindfulness techniques with people adjusting to memory loss or diagnosed dementias.

She has previously worked as a researcher with Stirling University, examining the prevalence and outcomes for people diagnosed with different types of cognitive impairment in the general hospital. She says: "I'm delighted to be part of the INVITE team and the impact our joint research and partnership with Stonewater will have on residents within the scheme."

Dr Regina Serpa, Research Fellow and Lecturer in Housing

Dr Serpa is a Research Fellow and Lecturer in Housing in the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Stirling.

Regina is a committee member of the Housing Studies Association and her research focuses on housing, inequalities, migrant homelessness and the convergence of criminal and immigration law. 

Julia Lawrence, Research Fellow

Julia Lawrence is a Research Fellow and Project Co-ordinator in the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Stirling.

Julia’s research interests include housing and disability, inequality and social exclusion, and user experiences of e-health and smart home technologies to support independent living.