In the era of containment, technology to break the isolation of seniors

Widowed, Per Leif Rolid lives alone on his farm, two hours’ drive from Oslo. A feeling of isolation accentuated by the Covid-19 pandemic but which the old man manages to break thanks to a simple screen which allows him to be online without any digital skills.

At 87, this Norwegian has never owned a computer, smartphone or tablet. That doesn’t stop him from receiving messages, photos or video calls from his grandchildren scattered around the world.

The secret? A stripped down screen, retro style, enthroned next to the TV. No keyboard, username or password so easy to forget but a single button that is used both to turn on the device and to adjust the volume as on the radios of yesteryear.

On the other side, in control, family members, experienced in digital solutions, who take short moments in their daily life to send content to the patriarch via an application.

“I can see them when we talk. I can stay in touch with them, whether they are at home or traveling abroad. I feel like I can be with my family all the time, ”said the octogenarian.

Modernity and technological revolution have left a whole section of the population, often the oldest, on the floor. According to a study co-produced by the British Red Cross, more than 9 million adults in Britain experience loneliness, including 4 million elderly people. In Norway, 35% of people over 67 live alone.

A feeling of isolation that the coronavirus pandemic is likely to worsen due to the various containment measures or visiting bans which, everywhere, deprive seniors of physical contact.

For psychologist and physiologist Christopher Lien, this increased isolation is “particularly regrettable.”

“A large part of the elderly have a weak social network and, if we add weeks of social isolation, it is obvious that for many of them, this network becomes even more tenuous,” he explains. he.

“In the worst case, they may have a sense of disorientation with respect to space and time. Their milestones disappear when they can no longer regroup in their retirement home or receive visits from relatives and friends, “he added.

– ‘Family window’ –

The health crisis could give a boost to technology groups working to create links and build bridges between radically different generations, one analogue the other digital.

According to Lian Jye Su, a technology analyst at ABI Research, the Covid-19 is expected to boost the global telepresence robot market by 20 to 35% this year, which could reach $ 400 million.

A feeling of isolation that the coronavirus pandemic is likely to worsen due to the various containment measures or visiting bans which, everywhere, deprive seniors of physical contact.

For psychologist and physiologist Christopher Lien, this increased isolation is “particularly regrettable.”

“A large part of the elderly have a weak social network and, if we add weeks of social isolation, it is obvious that for many of them, this network becomes even more tenuous,” he explains. Hey.

“In the worst case, they may have a sense of disorientation with respect to space and time. Their milestones disappear when they can no longer regroup in their retirement home or receive visits from relatives and friends,” he added.

– ‘Family window’ –

The health crisis could give a boost to technology groups working to create links and build bridges between radically different generations, one analog the other digital.

According to Lian Jye Su, a technology analyst at ABI Research, the Covid-19 is expected to boost the global telepresence robot market by 20 to 35% this year, which could reach $ 400 million.

“It doesn’t matter that they are not all fresh, since there is nothing we can do at the moment, but the important thing is to send (photos) a vacation from years ago for him remember how it was before coronavirus. “

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