The use of technology by older people has grown during coronavirus restrictions, according to a survey of more than 1,350 people.
The survey conducted by the Global Centre for Modern Ageing between March 27–April 14 found that one in five older Australians used a new technology for the first time during the pandemic and almost one in three increased their social media use.
“Social distancing has forced older Australians to search for the means to stay connected to those they love and fill their time with new hobbies,” the report says.
“For many this has meant embracing technology in new and different ways as they seek to retain relationships and stay engaged.”
It says this suggests that older Australians will respond to innovative technological solutions that help them stay connected.
Older people coping well
It also found 80 per cent of those surveyed were able to cite examples of support they have received from other people, and indicated that older people were coping surprising well during the pandemic.
Despite being in the highest risk group for coronavirus, people aged 60 and over were less concerned about the impacts of the pandemic than younger people.
Less than half the older group (46 per cent) were concerned about COVID-19 compared the 52 per cent of the under-60s.
And although they faced social challenges, such as missing time with family and grandchildren, older people were able to see a positive side to the lockdown, including improved community spirit and an opportunity to focus on the important things in life.
“Interestingly, introspection was commonly cited as a positive,” GCMA CEO Julianne Parkinson said. “Older Australians reported there is an increased appreciation for what we have and that more people have been evaluating what is important.”
The survey is part of a bigger multi-phase study with a final report set to be released later this year.
The GCMA provides advocacy, market development, partnerships and research to design and bring to market products and services that support wellbeing and independence in older people.