Whiddon Group has released data from its second survey on social isolation and loneliness that will help to inform its new content hub, YourLife.
The study conducted by Galaxy Research on people aged over 65 years looked at how people are using technology and social media to stay connected with family, friends and their community.
Half of the people surveyed reported feelings of loneliness, but those who use the internet daily are significantly less likely to feel lonely than those who log on less often (48% vs 59%).
Not knowing enough people, or anyone, in their neighbourhood is revealed as the most common reason for this demographic feeling isolated (46%), followed by a lack of transport, mobility or assistance to get out and about (37%).
People in this age group use the Internet most commonly for emails (97%), information searching (91%) and online banking (76%).
The main social media applications people reported using are Facebook (97%) followed by Pinterest (13%), Instagram (9%) and Twitter (9%).
More women (66%) reported feeling more connected to people when they use social media than men (56%).
Karn Nelson, Executive General Manager, Strategic Policy and Research, Whiddon, said social connection is at the heart of Whiddon’s strategy and will be an integral part of a new program the company is launching later this year.
“The internet and social media is prevalent in all walks of life today for people of all ages.
“As such, it is an avenue we are continuing to explore as a means of keeping our residents and clients connected with loved ones and the community.
“Every day we see that many of our residents and clients really relish the time they spend online and on social media as means of keeping up with their families – particularly grandchildren.”
The data from the research is helping to inform Whiddon Group’s new content hub, YourLife, which brings together the ongoing research the not-for-profit does and information to support consumers.
“There really are two core reasons behind the decision to launch YourLife,” a spokesperson for Whiddon Group said.
“The first was that we have a huge amount of fantastic content, particularly around creative and healthy ageing programs and research, that we wanted to find a way to share with consumers.”
“We are regularly developing and trialling new creative and healthy ageing programs like HenPower, VintageBites, Chat, Stories & Tea and recognised that we are sitting on so many inspirational and educational stories and resources that should be shared,” she said.
“Many of the resources that we have lend themselves to great practical solutions for families, for carers and for older people.”
“We also want to celebrate and share the inspirational people that are part of our community. Just yesterday I spent the day celebrating a 106th birthday at one of our homes and hearing about the incredible and very rich life of this resident – and use the powerful medium of storytelling to help break down perceptions of ageing and aged care.”
“The second reason is, of course, that we are operating in an increasingly digitally focussed world – more and more of our consumers are finding the information that they need online, engaging with us on social media and coming via our website – publishing powerful content online was a logical next step for us.”
“We wanted the content site to be authentic and transparent in how we share information and support people who are on that journey of looking for care.”
“It’s no secret that taking the step towards accessing aged care services is challenging, confusing and often very confronting – we are hoping that some of our content can help make a difference for some people.”
“We’re also engaging some of our residents and their families so that they can share their experience of moving into residential care with other families who may be at the beginning of their journey, supporting them with their learnings and stories.”
YourLife has three content pillars – healthy ageing, ageing concerns and keeping connected, which address things like a home care check list, planning for residential care, what is well being, research around healthy ageing and proactive ways to support people with cognitive decline.