ESRI Research Bulletin

Quality-of-life and risk of loneliness among older people with varying digital technology engagement

ESRI Research Bulletin Articles provide short summaries of work published by ESRI researchers and overviews of thematic areas covered by ESRI programmes of research. Bulletin Articles are designed to be easily accessible to a wide readership. A reference or references to the full publication is included at the start of each Bulletin article.

June 15, 2022
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Populations are ageing across many developed countries. Digitalisation of 21st century societies and recent experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic have brought the effects of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) on older people into sharper focus. Many countries have adopted policies to educate older people about digital technologies and to encourage the universal availability of high-speed broadband, partly with a view to closing digital divides. Designing such policies and justifying the economic resources spent on this area would be assisted by a better understanding of the how older people who use the internet benefit from it.

This paper uses data on a large sample of over-50s in Ireland to examine:

  1. Whether individuals with access to high-speed broadband at home are more likely to report use of the internet and a range of online activities.
  2. Whether quality-of-life and loneliness of older people in Ireland is higher or lower among those with internet access, higher frequency of internet use, and engagement with internet-based activities.