The social lives of older people living in Wingrove

A group of digital civics researchers are exploring how older people living in the Wingrove ward in Newcastle feel about their social lives, including their relationships with friends, family, neighbours and more informal contacts and connections. Jenny Liddle, who is involved with the project, explains more about their work.

An individual’s experiences and perceptions of their social lives and relationships can have an impact on other aspects of their lives, such as health and wellbeing. For example, older adults with weaker social ties are at greater risk of early death, ill health and poor wellbeing. Where people live can also play an important part in shaping relationships and interactions. Wingrove is a diverse area of Newcastle in terms of the age, ethnicity, health and other characteristics of residents. Around 10% of people living in Wingrove are aged 60 or over, and the average age of residents is around 30 years old.

We will adopt a locally embedded, participatory approach to exploring the complex issue of social interaction in later life. The project will begin with 20-30 interviews with older people (aged 60 and over) living in Wingrove, focusing on their social lives and interactions. We will then hold a series of co-design workshops with older people living in Wingrove and other stakeholders, researchers and developers. The specific focus of these workshops will be determined by the findings from thematic analysis of the interviews. The aim of the workshops will be to develop ideas about opportunities for innovative digital technologies to support, promote and/or capture social interaction in Wingrove.

The project involves local residents in Wingrove, along with digital civics researchers Jenny Liddle, Holly Standing and Kyle Montague, along with Nicole Valtorta and Cathrine Degnen from other departments in Newcastle University. For more information please contact Jenny Liddle.