Media Studies
Communication Science

Demography and Democracy – Healthy Ageing in a Digital World

The ageing population in the Nordics is causing challenges for care services. One solution to the problem is to provide health and welfare services digitally, but research shows that digital technology usage declines with age. Rapid digitalisation means that older people run the risk of becoming digitally marginalised. They are at risk of being excluded from both digital health services and digital public services, which decreases their civic influence and commitment. This can in turn affect their health and lead to social isolation.

The project examines how people over the age of 75 use digital media and communication technologies in relation to their health and well-being. Through case studies in Finland, Sweden and Denmark, the researchers will study how the countries’ different approaches to digital health services affect the elderly population’s opportunities for participation and equal health.

The project looks at two groups: elderly citizens, and their daily usage of digital technology in a health context; and healthcare staff and their use of digital technology in daily interaction and communication with elderly patients/clients. 

The purpose of the project is to counteract health inequalities and digital divides among the elderly population in the Nordic countries. The aim is to turn the surveyed groups’ experiences, understanding and knowledge of digital technology into practical guidance for elderly citizens as well as for decision-makers and healthcare professionals.

The project combines media and culture studies with social and cultural gerontology. Previous research has mainly used quantitative methods to research access to digital aids. The researchers in this study will use qualitative methods to gain a deeper and theoretically grounded understanding of how digitalisation affects the health of the elderly.

The project is hosted by Lund University. The project is funded with 990,000 euro by the Kamprad Family Foundation, within the framework of the research programme Future Challenges in the Nordics.

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Project group

Hanna Varjakoski, Fredrika Thelandersson, Elisa Tiilikainen, Anette Grønning, Helena Sandberg and Amalie Søgaard Nielsen.

Professor Helena Sandberg (project leader), Lund University
Associate professor Anette Grønning, University of Southern Denmark
PhD Fredrika Thelandersson, Lund University
Adjunct professor Elisa Tiilikainen, University of Eastern Finland
Postdoctoral researcher Hanna Varjakoski, University of Eastern Finland
Postdoctoral researcher Amalie Søgaard Nielsen, University of Southern Denmark