Life after lockdown: The experiences of older adults in a contactless digital world

Benjamin Morrison*, James Nicholson, Becca Wood, Pam Briggs

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
20 Downloads (Pure)


Introduction: The digital response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and its effects on the lives of older adults has been well-documented, but less is known about how they experienced the post-lockdown re-emergence into a relatively contactless digital society.

Methods: We report the findings from a qualitative survey (n = 93) and subsequent interviews (n = 9) with older adults aged 50+, where they describe their struggles with some of the newly implemented digital interactions. These struggles cover a range of settings but include using contactless payments, QR codes and apps to facilitate transactions in cafes, bars, and restaurants.

Results: A thematic analysis of our data revealed the intrinsic (e.g. digital literacy) and extrinsic (e.g. malfunctioning technology) factors that limited social inclusion for these participants, and that sometimes even led to moments of public humiliation.

Discussion: Our findings shed light on some of the motivational factors that underpin the age-related digital divide, whilst also highlighting the role of self-directed agism in limiting motivations to learn new digital routines.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1100521
Number of pages14
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jan 2023


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