Older people as users and non-users of a video conferencing service for promoting social connectedness and well-being – a case study from Finnish Lapland

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There is a need to better understand older people’s use, non-use, and learning of eHealth services in their everyday lives. This paper reports a case study of a phone and video conferencing service aimed at promoting the social connectedness and well-being of older people in the sparsely populated area of Finnish Lapland. The data were derived from qualitative semi-structured interviews of a service coordinator (n = 1), volunteers (n = 2), and service users (n = 2). The volunteers were 69 and 71 years old, and the service users were 88 and 89 years old. Service coordinator and volunteers described the service as a new and needed service for sparsely populated areas. It supports social interaction and well-being of older people. However, some users experienced inconvenience of the service and concern, such as negative feelings due to technical problems. Reported barriers relating to the learning and use of the service included negative perception of oneself as a technology user and cognitive and physical difficulties. Reported enablers included technical support and older people’s willingness and ability to practice and learn. eHealth services can be experienced as useful, especially by older people living in sparsely populated areas. However, inconvenience, concerns, and barriers were recognized as influencing older people’s willingness to use the service. Older people’s digital competence and distributed digital competencies within their network play important roles in learning to use and using an eHealth service. Digital competence also influences domestication of the technology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)258-269
JournalEducational Gerontology
Issue number5
Early online date29 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - 3 May 2020
MoEC publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Elderly
  • digital technologies
  • healthcare services
  • competence
  • learning
  • well-being
  • sparsely populated area
  • Older people
  • eHealth service
  • digital competence

Field of science

  • Media education

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