Harnessing technology to tackle loneliness

Published: March 2019


In the UK, 1.5 million people over 50 are often or always lonely. Life changes such as retirement and bereavement, more typical to this age group, can put them at risk of becoming lonely. As well as the acute emotional impact of loneliness on those experiencing it, there are also other costs associated with loneliness: in the over-50s alone, it could be costing the economy £1.8bn a year.

WPI Economics worked with Vodafone to not only identify the costs and risks associated with loneliness, but also technology and policy solutions that can promote independence, help people maintain and build networks and improve their access to such technology. For example, discreet wearable technology that connects to the internet using 4G instead of broadband allows people to leave their home with confidence, as devices can monitor the health of the wearer, as well as detect a fall and alert friends and family.

To read the report in full, click here.