Being Connected at Home – Making use of digital devices in later life

Summary and overall aim

This project investigates fundamental changes in the contemporary experience of later life, at the intersection of digital infrastructures, place and the experience of “being connected”. We address a research gap by exploring and theorizing the role of digital communication devices (such as smartphones (that will be tracked), tablets, PCs, apps, fitness trackers, pedometers, or “brain games”) in relation to the modern life course. And we combine this theoretical approach with a practical goal of making our insights actionable through co-design by involving older people and other relevant stakeholders in “Academic Work Places” in The Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Canada. The project is contextualized by debates around ageing in place, loneliness and social isolation, and the idea that these are age-related challenges that require interventions. The potential of such interventions has so far not been realized because the complexities of human-machine interactions are both under-theorised and over-instrumentalised in technology projects. To have impact, new devices to stimulate social engagement and social connectedness need to be based on a fine-grained understanding of digital use as an integral element in the contemporary experience of “being connected”. We will deliver such understanding and utilize it in order to realize impact for older citizens, business and policy maker alike – impact that will help alleviate the increasing burden of loneliness and social isolation.

Project details

BCONNECT@HOME participated in the third joint call on ‘Ageing and place in a digitalising world’.

Project duration and budget

Project duration: 36 months
Project costs: €571.032


  • Utrecht University, the Netherlands.
  • Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Spain.
  • Trent University, Canada.
  • KTH Stockholm, Sweden.