Supporting Community Services for Aging Populations
The city of Berkeley's Aging Services Division (ASD) coordinates a variety of services for senior residents, including running three active senior centers, a nutrition services program, and a social services program. The age, health condition, and socio-economic status of the ASD's clients vary greatly but the services offered make a great impact. The centers and nutrition program provide opportunities for frequent interaction between service providers and clients. We are partnering with the Aging Services Division and the City's IT department for our final project in order to address the lack of technical infrastructure around social service delivery in our community. Our project will assess the current situation using a variety of methods and then turn to designing, prototyping, and testing a client registration, activity tracking and reporting system for the senior centers. The system needs to be able to accommodate the regular "ground-truth" interactions which can help identify additional services available to, or required by, clients. It also needs to serve a reflective capacity within the organization, allowing it to understand itself more effectively and allow for coordination between geographically dispersed workplaces. The ASD staff are constrained by their existing information infrastructure, which is unable to support these functions in the way that a networked system would be able to. Working with the IT department we will conduct a full business analysis, and offer a viable implementation plan that takes into account both social and technical considerations. Our goal is to understand the complexity of social service delivery and deliver actionable designs for a system which respects the lived reality of the staff and presents them with the opportunity to participate in the design process, yielding a better end result.