Using technology to keep in touch

Using technology to keep in touch

Author: Philippa Thompson

Many of us take technology for granted – especially when it comes to staying in touch with people. It’s an everyday part of modern life which is used to a greater or lesser extent depending on what you do for work, your hobbies and, to a point, your age.

It’s probably inevitable that as you age you may not stay up to date as new technologies emerge. However, keeping up with new ways to communicate is vital. One thing we could all do to help friends and relatives of advancing years, is teach them how to use different forms of technology to keep in touch.

Loneliness is a big problem

Loneliness is a serious problem for older people. Age UK research suggests around 1.4 million older people experience chronic loneliness in England. Tackling loneliness is important because it can have a direct impact on the health and wellbeing of those affected.

What’s more, although the use of technology by older people is increasing, 2018 statistics showed that nearly 4 million people over the age of 65, had never used the internet. As a result, it is likely that older, and particularly less mobile people, not using the internet are probably experiencing greater loneliness than those who do use technology to keep in touch.

How can you help?

Helping older people stay connected is important and there are many ways to help. Age UK runs Digital Inclusion projects that offers different types of support. However, there are thing you can do too.

Firstly, don’t forget that learning something new can be daunting for anyone, so take it at their pace. If they are resistant to ‘learning the internet’, approach it from the perspective of showing them how to find out more about a subject they are interested in.

You will need to consider whether they have access to internet, or if that will need to be arranged. If they don’t have home internet, there are mobile solutions available.

Mobile phones

A smart phone is probably one of the easiest ways to introduce older people to different ways to stay in touch. Many are simple to use and are relatively affordable. Settings can be adjusted to help people visual impairment.

You can help by setting the phone up for them, so they don’t have to do it themselves. Install the communication apps you prefer to use. Then give the phone to them and talk them through how to use it. If you aren’t local, or can’t visit them for any reason, call them on their landline once they receive the mobile and talk them through how to use it and the apps you’ve installed.

Instant Messenger, text messaging and WhatsApp are great ways to share photos or short messages that can be picked up at a convenient time.


If you are helping someone who has access to a laptop and webcam, they could use sites like Zoom or Skype to video call friends and family. Once they’ve been talked through the process a few times, they’ll grow in confidence and will come to love the ability to see people from the comfort of their own home.


Email is free to set up and a great alternative to postal mail. Who doesn’t love to receive a letter with all the latest news from their loved ones?

With an email account you are also making it easier for them to access online information and join events like virtual classes, webinars or even the library!

The humble telephone

It can be easy to forget that even a simple telephone call can make all the difference to someone who is feeling lonely. Regular, short calls will give your friend or relative something to look forward to.

There are a number of charities like Age UK and The Silverline who offer phone call services. The Silverline even offers a group call facility so that 6 to 8 people can talk about shared interests.

Technology at The Dower House

At The Dower House residents use a range of technology solutions to stay in touch with friends and family. Telephone and wi-fi services are supplied to individual rooms ensuring reliable internet access for FaceTime, WhatsApp calls, Zoom and Skype as well as emails and phone calls.

Staff are happy to help residents make use of the various platforms available.

You can read more about life at The Dower House here.

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