Using technologies to maintain the social engagement of older adults living independently

Experiences from COVID-19

Project overview

Emerging Technologies for Enrichment in Old Age

This study aims to investigate how older adults have been using technologies to maintain social engagement, especially during COVID-19 lockdowns, and to understand their experiences and perceptions of technology-mediated social engagement.

Social engagement is a critical component of healthy ageing but is difficult to maintain when face-to-face interaction is restricted due to COVID-19 lockdowns. Other constraints such as mobility impairments can also limit older people’s opportunities to engage in social activities, especially for older people living independently (not in care facilities).

COVID-19 has created opportunities for activities to be organised in digital forms. To inform the design of future tools to support older adults’ social engagement, it is crucial to understand the innovative practices that enabled older adults to stay socially engaged, and to gain insight into older adults’ experiences with online social activities.

Key Questions:
• How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected the social engagement of older people living independently?
• How have older adults been using technologies to maintain social engagement during COVID-19?
• How do older adults perceive the use of technologies to maintain social engagement?
• How can the design of future technology-based systems or programs for older adults’ social engagement be improved?

Project information

Funding source Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship & ARC Grant FT170100420
Project time frame June-November 2021
Human Ethics ID 21882
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