‘Like an unbridled horse that runs away with you’: a study of older and disabled people during the COVID-19 pandemic and their use of digital technologies

David Clayton*, Kay de Vries, Andrew Clifton, Emily Cousins, Wendy Norton, Melissa Seims

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

This study explored the uses of digital technologies by older and disabled people who were social distancing and shielding during the early Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns. The study considers the benefits, difficulties, and technical support needs of these groups of people during this time. Using a case study methodology, in-depth interviews were undertaken with 11 older and disabled people recruited from a local digital support service, and their support workers. Five main themes were identified by the research team. These were: technology was a mixed blessing and caused frustration; technology use increased during lockdown; technology supported resilience and contributed to identity through ‘stimulation, knowledge and friendship’; technology needs to be accessible, and support was required to facilitate technology use. Understanding these experiences will enable policymakers, commissioners, and providers to develop better and more responsive digital support for older and disabled people in the future.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDisability & Society
ISSN0968-7599
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 31. May 2023
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • Older people
  • digital technologies
  • disabled people
  • support services

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