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The Connectivity Report

Older Australians staying connected

Care Connect’s new research, The Connectivity Report reveals that older Australians aged 70+ are more connected through technology than we realise, with a third regularly active on social media and more than half frequently banking online.

The Connectivity Report explores the attitudes and behaviours of older Australians towards technology and their use of it to stay connected with family, friends and community*. Findings from the report highlight how a large proportion of older Australians are using technology to maintain their independence and remain at home.

Care Connect CEO, Paul Ostrowski says “The research indicates that older Australians are embracing technology for social interaction, reducing their feelings of social isolation and helping them stay more involved in the lives of their family and friends.

“There is compelling evidence that indicates the effects of social isolation are comparable with smoking and other risk factors (including obesity and lack of physical activity) and can influence a person’s life expectancy (Holt-Lundstad et al 2010). With our research indicating older Australians being more tech savvy than we thought and eager to learn more, the aged care sector should be considering technology as a way to connect their clients with their communities.

“The research shows that at least one quarter of older Australians has close family living interstate or overseas with over half surveyed noting general concern about staying connected with their family and friends. It would suggest that older Australians with the right technology and support can connect with family and friends in just a touch of a button.

“That’s where having a home care adviser support a person can be so valuable. Instead of just putting in basic services (gardening, cleaning etc) an adviser can look at a person’s full situation and connect them with services to help them reach their goals sooner. Our advisers often talk with our clients about which technology options might suit their needs and situation”.

Married couple, Hilary Mellis and Rod Mellis who are 66 and 74 years old respectively highlight how technology helps them connect with their community, opening them up to social events and new friends within the local area.

“Before my husband learnt about the basics of technology through Care Connect, we weren’t really involved with the local community and were quite isolated. Now we’re able to keep up to date with what’s going on in the area and attend community events,” Hilary explains.

She adds “Technology and the internet open up a lot of opportunities to seniors and help people feel independent and confident about remaining at home. I have a friend who can no longer drive but she uses the internet to buy her groceries. They arrive at her door, without the internet she would have to rely on someone to help her”.

Hilary, who recently attended a workshop to learn more about smartphones also emphasises that keeping up-to-date with technology helps seniors connect with their grandchildren and the younger generation, as they share photos and learn about the latest gadgets.

Paul adds “Whilst older Australians may not be early adopters, they are keen to learn. They have the time to expand their new technology repertoire, as well as develop their knowledge of what the platforms they currently use, can do. At Care Connect, our goal is to support people living happily at home for life and technology is such an integral part of that, which we see emphasised throughout the research findings”.

To download your copy of The Connectivity Report click here.

To find out more about Care Connect click here

To watch Rod and Hilary’s video click here.

*Respondents live in metro/suburban Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. This research was conducted by Sagacity Research.

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