During the COVID19 pandemic we have all had to make adjustments and manage how we cope with the necessary restrictions placed on us. One of the major significant impacts we have had to cope with is the lack of social interaction with friends and family.

Whilst the need for social contact varies, there is no doubt that we all share a fundamental need to interact with others. There is a wealth of evidence that shows that positive relationships and shared activities contribute to our mental wellbeing and there is similar evidence that shows that loneliness and social isolation increases health risks in older people.

Various life events, such as retirement, bereavement, ill health and indeed that of a pandemic lockdown can affect our interaction with others and can make it difficult to stay active socially.

Keeping socially active helps us to stay mentally alert. It’s not unusual for our social networks to shrink as we get older, so we have to think of other ways to engage socially and, given current restrictions, this is more difficult than ever.

One way we can continue to stay connected and not become isolated is through digital channels; computer-based communication can be useful to help expand our social world as well as to maintaining existing contacts with friends and family. The current situation has highlighted the growing need for digital engagement in today’s modern world.

However, we know that getting online can be a daunting prospect for many - over two thirds of all digital exclusion is amongst those aged 65 and over. Here at Age UK South Lakeland we are available to provide support every step of the way to enable older people to get online safely and confidently. We also offer free loans of equipment and internet connections, so you can try before you buy a device of your own. We urge everyone to give digital a go – it may just be the best decision you make. Call on 030 300 30003 for more information.