Oxford Brookes Business School

Loneliness Study, sharing photos online can make a huge difference to the lives of elderly people

Friday, 02 February 2018


Research by Oxford Brookes researcher Dr Sarah Quinton has found that sharing photos online can make a huge difference to the lives of elderly people, but a large number lack confidence in their digital skills.

Oxfordshire based residents aged 60 and over gathered at Oxford Brookes on 23 January to share their thoughts on the new research study. All participants in the seminar all use the internet regularly to share their news and pictures.

The study is hoping to discover how older people can use social media to reduce isolation and loneliness. Findings will be used to make suggestions to policymakers on how to encourage more older people to use and interact with the internet. The scheme is currently being tested in Oxfordshire and Milton Keynes, before being moved nationwide.

Dr Quinton said: "It was a very interesting first session which has given us a lot to think about.

"Many things surprised us, for example, a lot of the older people are using Whatsapp which is generally considered to be a younger person's tool.

"What came out clearly is the need for human interaction and the need to connect with others.

"Technology can help a lot with that but can also add to the feelings of isolation for people who do not feel confident in their skills.

"A lot of informal training goes on from friends and family but it's clear more can be done."

Findings from the study, which is funded by the Sir Halley Stewart Trust, will be published in the autumn.

Age UK Oxfordshire and the North Oxford Rotary Club are assisting the researchers by providing participants.

This event was also featured in the Oxford Mail