April 25, 2024
Technology

Older generation begin to embrace technology – in order to stay connected to loved ones


To stay in the loop with their family and friends, a survey of over 70s found that many are becoming more acquainted with technology.

Nearly 8 in 10 over 70s use their devices to combat loneliness(© SWNS)

Almost half of the older generation are embracing technology to stay connected with loved ones and meet new people via social media.

A poll of more than 850 adults aged 70 and above found 43% have recently reconnected with old school friends online. While 32% have taken to online gaming, 35% also enjoy seeing what their grandchildren get up to on Instagram.




And one in three regularly video call their friends and family members. However, 79% feel there is an outdated stigma that older people are unable – or don’t want to – use digital technology. In fact, 49% of this demographic are keen to learn more about being online, while 78% also use a tech device or the internet at least a few times a week to combat loneliness.

Nearly half of over 70s are ready to, or already are, using technology to stay connected to their loved ones(Adam Hughes © SWNS)

The research was commissioned by Specsavers Home Visit Service, which has teamed up with the Royal Voluntary Service, to demonstrate how the digital world is helping to tackle loneliness among the older generation.

Sam Ward OBE, deputy CEO at Royal Voluntary Service, said: “Being online is not just a convenience, it’s a vital way for people to stay connected, informed, and engaged and as people get older, this becomes even more important. After successfully getting more people online during the pandemic through our Virtual Village Hall activity hub and community, we realised its value to people who want to feel connected. And as our research shows, the internet can give us great access to connect with friends, family and also forge new connections improving both health and wellbeing.”

The study also found 32% of over 70s feel there aren’t enough opportunities in their local community to meet and connect with new people of the same age – but just under a quarter consider it extremely important to learn new skills as they get older. On average, those over 70 have learned at least four new skills each since hitting the milestone age.

There is also an eagerness to learn new online skills, including internet banking (25%) and participating in virtual classrooms (17%). While 15% are hoping to learn mindfulness and meditation, others are keen to improve their baking (17%) and arts and crafts skills (12%).

It also emerged 44% of those who took part in the study, via OnePoll.com, would consider learning a new skill to combat loneliness. However, 27% believe there aren’t enough free online classes available to them. For those over 70 who can’t leave their homes without help due to a physical or mental health condition, this becomes even more important with 61% wanting to learn a new skill to combat loneliness.



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