An insight into how technology can be a double-edged sword.
Research shows that:
44% of people aged over 65 years’ experience social exclusion, which is twice the rate of exclusion for other age groups.
At least 10% of senior Australians suffer from loneliness or social isolation, a number that has failed to drop over the last two decades.
Connectedness enhances older adult’s well being and has a positive effect on their physical and mental health.
Connectedness has several meanings for older Australians such as:
Getting information and keeping up-to-date
Keep in touch with family and friends
Coordinating activities and events
Participating in and belonging to communities
Having access to products, services and experiences
Our research has shown that for older Australians, connecting through technology supports their existing relationships and we see this through their use of mobile phones, social media and email.
But what happens if older people are too afraid, have pre-conceived ideas or don't know how to use technology?
Although technology can enhance connections, it can also isolate which can be a double-edged sword.
Barriers to using technology include a fear of being bullied, scams or can be from a lack of resources and skills, however the good news is, there are a number of ways older people can tap into overcoming these hurdles:
Understanding they are not alone and listening to other people's experiences can give them confidence that there are ways to help.
Exposure to easy to use strategies to overcome perceived digital technology risks.
Finding out the best place to seek assistance from such as family, friends, service providers, semi formal educational settings such as the local U3A, or even the internet.
Collaborative networks have great potential so if you know anyone that is struggling with connectedness, check out our free resources that can assist them so that they can be more involved and engaged in the community.