Post No17…Keeping older people connected through technology.

Post No17…Keeping older people connected through technology.
Photo by Bram Naus / Unsplash


During the Covid-19 pandemic, the subject of isolation became something everyone was talking about. People of all ages can be isolated, and sadly there is more in the community than we may realise on the surface.

With the ability to see each other face to face reduced, many of us took to the internet to keep in contact with friends and family. However, for some older people this was an alien concept, and is further complicated if someone is living with dementia.

This post is going discuss some of the ways technology can help support older people, along with some key links about where to look for further support in the local community.

Computers / tablets / mobile phones

Over the many years I have worked in care homes, it is always amazing to see just how many older people are using computers or tablets to keep up with their affairs. Platforms like Zoom or WhatsApp are great ways of video calling, which can help families stay in touch even if they are not geographically close. These interactions may help prevent a person feeling isolated, especially if they have restricted mobility and live alone.

Computers can also be used for online shopping and banking. In the winter months, there is often an increase in the number of falls people have out in the community. Darker days, windy and wet weather do not make for good conditions if you are unsteady when walking, meaning some older people will stay at home due to the fear of falling. Having a method of buying food, and accessing your money from home, could therefore be quite useful.

Keeping updated with global affairs can be done online and many older people still want to know what is going on in the world around them. More importantly it also gives people something to talk about, encouraging the desire to interact with one another. Getting tips on being fit, and where classes are available, is also important, and again can be found online.

One of the problems for older people in the modern world is that almost everything is now online, with banks, shops and other retailers migrating customers to their websites and shutting down physical outlets. GP’s, and other health services, are also now more online than they used to be, in order to deal with the growing demand for their already stretched services. As a result, the need to be online has never been more important than it is today.

Thankfully, there are services in most local communities that run support groups for older people to help them improve their IT skills. Age UK in Southampton run sessions in both Manston Court in Lordshill and Freemantle and Shirley Community Centre. Age Concern also run computing sessions at The Borrow Centre in Cowplain, Waterlooville. More information about these sessions can be found via the links below.

Top Tip...Being aware of Scams is always important when using online services - more details about avoiding Scams can be found here

Modern Hearing Aids

In the article Why hearing loss increases your risk of falling, and what to do about it(contributed by Temma Ehrenfeld, 2021) it is noted that hearing loss contributes to falls. The CDC also note that more than one in four Americans over the age of 65 fall every year.

Madaline Burry also notes "People who have hearing loss are much more likely to have balance disorders than those who do not have hearing loss" (quote from Jennifer Stone PhD, from artical How balance and hearing are connected—and why this matters, Madaline Burry, 2022). The artical discusses how our balance and hearing are connected, suggesting a problem with one could directly affect the other. Hearing loss could, therefore, contribute to an increased risk of falls.

The consequences of a fall can be very frightening and painful experiences for older people, and the fear of falling may stop someone from wanting to go into the community and socialise. Computers can help here through video calling, but if someone also has hearing loss, they may decide not to use these technologies, or stop picking up a telephone because they cannot hear very well. Hearing loss may also stop people wanting to socialise in larger groups, resulting in them becoming more isolated from their community and the people around them.

Having regular hearing tests is a good way of avoiding these possible problems. An Audiologist may diagnose a wax blockage that can be cleared with micro suction, fix any issues with a persons hearing aid, or perhaps suggest new hearing aids.

Modern hearing aids can come with Bluetooth technology, where microphone like devises can be connected sending sound directly to the hearing aid. This technology can potentially have social wellbeing benefits, as it enables people to converse more easily with others, and may encourage people to go into the community as a result.

There are alternative options to modern hearing aids, including bone conductor headphones and NHS provided hearing aids, all of which may help someone to hear better. Getting a hearing test and speaking to someone is definitely the best place to start.

Dr Gouping Li PhD is the Director of 2hearing, a domiciliary hearing service based in Southampton and covers the surround areas. There are also audiology services available on the NHS, both details are listed below.

Did you know? There is growing data linking hearing loss to memory loss.


Although many older people fear technology, there are some great benefits to using it in some form or another. Reducing isolation through healthy hearing, or by being connected online is hugely important, as is the requirement of wider society to help enable older people to use the technology.

If older people are more connected online, it may help boost the economy when they spend on services or products, which helps them to retain their identity through their purchasing, and gives them enjoyment (as we all love shopping…) 😊

The Care Whisperer says 'its important to stay connected to your community, book a hearing test if you have concerns about your hearing'

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