Loneliness and social isolation have significant impacts on older people’s health and wellbeing. This has been a priority issue for the Welsh Government since before the COVID-19 pandemic. During the pandemic, social distancing measures increased the risk of loneliness and social isolation and accelerated the use of technology to facilitate social contact and connection.
WCPP was asked by the Welsh Government to find out how technology has been used during the COVID-19 pandemic in Wales to build social connections and tackle loneliness and social isolation among older adults. As part of this work, the University of Bath was commissioned to carry out the research. The research involved a survey and interviews with health and social care service providers and interviews with older adult service users. It sought to explore how, and how far, digital technologies have been used to address loneliness among older adults during the pandemic and to identify what might be learned for future efforts to tackle loneliness among this group.
The policy briefing summarises the findings of the research, which are available in full in the final report.