Lockdown led to older generations embracing tech

The COVID-19 lockdown has been a catalyst for many older people to embrace technology, forge relationships with neighbours and reconnect with old friends, experts from The University of Stirling discover.

A team surveyed nearly 2,000 people aged over 60 years old and found that while lockdown inevitably triggered feelings of loneliness, there were upsides to the situation. Many respondents reported they had adapted to video conferencing technology to increase online contact with existing social networks, while others reconnected with old friends.

“Lockdown encouraged some older people to embrace and engage with technology – such as Zoom, Whatsapp or FaceTime – to stay in touch with loved-ones or participate in exercise classes or religious groups,” explains Prof Anna Whittaker, who led the work.

New activities included bingo and quiz nights, while other activities moved online, such as bridge nights, book clubs, choir rehearsals, and dance and exercise classes.

James Kenway, commercial director at Griffin Media Solutions comments:

“It is wonderful that more older people are starting to enjoy the benefits of the digital era. Detailed analysis of results from our media campaigns highlights that a fully integrated offline and online advertising campaign is extremely effective when it comes to boosting brand awareness and increasing sales.”

Brian Sloan, Chief Executive of Age Scotland, comments:

“The ongoing impact of COVID-19 has also demonstrated just how important increased digital inclusion is and how easily those without access to technology can feel out of the loop. It’s reassuring to see so many older people reporting that they have been able to embrace and engage with technology to stay connected and active. However, it’s equally important to ensure those who are unable or do not wish to use the internet have alternative ways to stay connected to their communities and support network.”

Original source: University of Stirling press release

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