Many Adults Above 70 Use Tech To Combat Loneliness, Report Finds

The pandemic has forced older people to confront loneliness by turning to technology for social connections.

A Specsavers Home Visit Service study reveals that “nearly half of the older generations are now using technology to keep in touch with loved ones and meet new people online,” showcasing the power of digital tools in bridging the social gap for seniors.


How Are Older Adults Using Technology?


The digital world offers a plethora of opportunities for older adults to connect and engage with their communities. From online gaming, where 32% of adults over 70 find joy, to following their grandchildren on Instagram, technology is proving to be a vital tool against isolation.

Sam Ward OBE, deputy CEO at Royal Voluntary Service, says, “Being online is not just a convenience, it’s a vital way for people to stay connected, informed, and engaged.” This engagement is important as it provides a lifeline to those who may otherwise feel cut off from the world.


What Barriers Exist?


Despite the benefits, there are barriers to digital engagement. 79% of older adults feel there’s an outdated stigma against their ability to use technology, with 49% eager to learn more about being online.

However, opportunities for learning and connection are not always accessible or tailored to their needs. “There aren’t enough free online classes available,” notes the study, pointing to a gap in resources that could help bridge this digital divide further.


How Can Technology Help?


The potential of technology to combat loneliness and social isolation is immense. Service providers have observed firsthand the positive impacts of digital engagement.

Devices like tablets and smart speakers, and apps on the devices have been used to facilitate not just social interactions but also to assist in daily tasks, thereby enhancing independence and connectivity.

“The possibilities are huge,” says a service provider, reflecting on the broad range of tech applications from video calls to controlling home appliances.


What More Needs to Be Done?


The journey towards fully integrating technology into the lives of older adults to combat loneliness is ongoing. There’s a clear need for more accessible training and resources.

“We want to do as much as we can to improve the daily lives of our customers, beyond helping them with their vision,” explains Dawn Roberts, clinical director for Specsavers Home Visits.

This statement encapsulates the broader mission of using technology, for communication and as a tool for improving quality of life.


What Does the Future Hold?


The future looks promising as more older adults become acquainted with digital tools. The key to success lies in continued support, accessible resources, and the removal of stigmas around aging and technology use.

Technology being used as a tool to reducing loneliness feelings, and also helps bring people of different ages together. The story of seniors engaging with technology to overcome solitude is inspiring, and is a reminder snd testament to how necessary digital connections can be.