In Australia, complex issues relating to an ageing population are confronting governments, communities and individuals (APC 2011). This is a common concern in most developed countries and one where IS can play a significant role. Some studies have suggested that social well-being could be enhanced by participation in online activities (ADHA 2011). Reports in aged care research literature indicate that loneliness and isolation are among the main problems encountered by people living well into their 80s and 90s (Coughlan 2011). Those still in their home receive basic medical and support services, sometimes via the Internet, but their lack of mobility restricts their ability to interact socially. Those who move into independent self-managed units or full-residential institutions are often dislocated from family and friends.
Social technology offers a flexible mechanism for addressing the isolation experienced by many senior citizens. As the needs and capabilities of this group may vary considerably, developing social information systems in this area represents a complex challenge. Meeting this challenge fits well with the theoretical approach to the development of social information systems discussed and illustrated in this paper.