New research reveals modern telephony is contributing to the loneliness epidemic
New research from Fuss Free Phones reveals how UK adults feel about elderly relatives’ mobile phone use and communication.
The research, finds that contact is hard to maintain. Over a third (36%) of Brits feel they don’t hear from their elderly relatives enough. This is compounded further with 38% of respondents suggesting they don’t have the time themselves to stay in touch.
The research also found that 35% of respondents believe elderly relatives don’t know how to use their mobile phones effectively, because modern phones have confusing apps and unnecessary features.
Key findings from the survey revealed:
- Nearly one quarter (23%) of respondents say their elderly relative does not own a mobile phone.
- Over a third (35%) believe their elderly relative does not know how to use their mobile phone properly – for calling or using messaging apps.
- One third (33%) of respondents feel it is their responsibility to maintain contact.
- 38% of people don’t have the time to stay in touch with elderly relatives.
- 36% of people don’t feel that they hear enough from their elderly relatives.
- Only 6% of people feel it is their elderly relative’s responsibility to maintain contact.
This new study supports previous work from the Campaign to End Loneliness, which found that over half of all people in the UK aged over 75 live alone and that loneliness is on the increase, with 63% feeling lonely some of the time or often.
“Communicating is a basic human need and yet our research shows that we live in a society where older people are feeling isolated from their busy families. What’s interesting in our research is that over a third of our respondents feel their older relatives don’t initiate communication enough,” said Simon Rockman, the founder of Fuss Free Phones.
“Mobile phones should enable better communication, but we found that 23% of older people don’t own a mobile phone and of those that do, 35% don’t know how to use it. That’s 50% of the over 75s who don’t or can’t use a communication device that the rest of the population takes for granted. With younger people increasingly using messaging apps to stay in contact, the gap between the generations may yet increase further,” said Simon.
- 84% of people in Wales say their elderly relative owns a mobile phone but 30% say they do not know how to use them.
- 31% of people in North East say they don’t maintain high levels of contact with their elderly relative because they don’t know how to use their mobile phone effectively.
- 42% of people in Scotland feel that they are responsible for maintaining contact with their elderly relative whereas only 26% in Yorkshire and The Humber agree.
- A staggering 57% of adults in The Midlands say they don’t have time to maintain contact with their elderly relatives.
- Only 37% of females feel they don’t hear from their elderly relatives enough and 35% of males.
- 47% of people aged between 25-34 don’t hear from their elderly relatives enough whereas only 29% aged over 55+ agree.