WPI ECONOMICS, OAKLEY Matthew, ROSE Christina Bovill
This report, commissioned by Vodafone and produced by WPI Economics, looks at the prevalence of loneliness in the UK and role technology can play in alleviating loneliness in older people by keeping them connected to their family and friends for longer. Focusing on chronic loneliness amongst people aged over 50, the report also provides new estimates of the potential scale of costs associated with loneliness, which it estimates as £1.8 billion per year to the UK economy. It highlights how technology can be used alongside more traditional community services to facilitate social interaction, and that learning how to use it more fully can reduce loneliness and promote an active lifestyle. This can help older people remain independent in their homes and communities and increase confidence and the likelihood of positive interactions. It can also help to maintain and build networks and contacts, with technology used as a way of keeping in touch with friends and family and accessing new communities and groups. The report outlines five recommendations to promote the use of technology in tackling loneliness, which over improving access to technology, increasing confidence and skills in the use of technology and supporting innovative technological solutions.