The Enabling Role of ICT to Mitigate the Negative Effects of Emotional and Social Loneliness of the Elderly during COVID-19 Pandemic

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Llorente Barroso, Carmen and Kolotouchkina, Olga and Mañas Viniegra, Luis (2021) The Enabling Role of ICT to Mitigate the Negative Effects of Emotional and Social Loneliness of the Elderly during COVID-19 Pandemic. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18 (8). p. 3923. ISSN 1660-4601

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18083923



Abstract

(1) Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has been especially hard on the elderly owing to their particular vulnerability to the virus. Their confinement to prevent the spread of the virus resulted in social isolation, often linked to the unwanted loneliness that hinders their emotional well-being. The enabling capacity of ICT (Information and Communication Technology) to overcome the negative effects of this isolation requires special attention. The purpose of this research is to understand the impact of the use of ICT on the emotional well-being of elderly people during their confinement.
(2) Methods: A qualitative exploration method based on four focus groups with elderly people aged 60 years or older and three in-depth personal interviews with experts in education of the elderly were carried out.
(3) Results: Research results evidence a negative emotional impact of the confinement (lack of physical contact with their loved ones, fear and uncertainty, feeling of loneliness, sadness at the loss of family members) on the emotional well-being of study participants.
Furthermore, the operational capacity of ICT to prevent infection, as well as their positive emotional and humanizing role in providing access to entertainment and hobbies, and in improving self-esteem was also acknowledged.
(4) Conclusions: ICT have become a valuable ally for elderly people aged 60 years and older to mitigate the negative effects of social isolation and loneliness imposed by the confinement.


Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Elderly; Unwanted loneliness; Emotional well-being; Social isolation; Pandemic; COVID19; ICT (Information and Communication Technology); Digital communication; Focus group
Subjects:Social sciences > Information science > Communication
Social sciences > Information science > Internet
Social sciences > Information science > Communication research
ID Code:65224
Deposited On:04 May 2021 08:44
Last Modified:05 May 2021 08:20

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