Keeping Warm: Social Connectedness and Technology - A Case Study of Rotherham, England ‘Technology and Health in the Elderly’

By Adelaide M. Lusambili, Angela Mary Tod, Catherine Homer, Jo Abbott, Jo Cooke and Kathleen Anne McDaid.

Published by The International Journal of Health, Wellness and Society

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the relationship between social connectedness and modern technology with the ability of older people to keep warm during winter. Findings from previous research in England found that high fuel prices, low income and changing patterns of fuel consumption are key barriers to keeping warm in winter for many families. Living in a cold home increases the risk of winter hospital admissions, especially among the elderly with respiratory problems. This multi disciplinary interview-based project conducted in Rotherham (England) involved social care professionals, public health specialists, and user–representatives, sociologists and medical anthropologists. We have identified many ways in which modern technology is a barrier in heating homes in winter. Using the sociological theory of Symbolic Interaction (SI) we will discuss how social connectedness and use of modern technology influences older people in heating their homes and ultimately how these factors affect their health and well being. This paper is aimed at social care professionals, policy makers, public health specialists and governments.

Keywords: Technology, Fuel Poverty, Social Connection, Symbolic Interaction, Affordable Warmth, Fuel Poverty, Older People Life

The International Journal of Health, Wellness and Society, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp.27-42. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 863.859KB).

Adelaide M. Lusambili

Researcher, Public Health, National Health Service (NHS), National Health Service (NHS) Rotherham, Rotherham, South Yorkshire, UK

Adelaide is medical anthropologist. She has experience doing public health/social development research both in developed and developing countries.

Dr. Angela Mary Tod

Principal Research Investigator, Centre for Health and Social Care Research, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, UK

Angela’s expertise is in qualitative health services research in stand alone, mixed method studies, and clinical trials. Current research focuses on public health research and health service access.

Catherine Homer

Graduate Student, Public Health, National Health Service, National Health Service (NHS) Rotherham, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, UK

Catherine works in a Public Health Department based in a deprived area of South Yorkshire, England. Her main roles include promoting health and contributing to a reduction of health inequalities through engaging and influencing communities and organisations. Catherine’s main specialist areas of work include weight management, affordable warmth and physical activity. Catherine is currently completing her final dissertation towards a Masters in Public Health.

Jo Abbott

Consultant in Public Health, National Health Service (NHS) Rotherham, Rotherham, South Yorkshire, UK

Jo Abbott FFPH, works in a busy Public Health Department in an area of high deprivation following the closure of the coal and steel industries across South Yorkshire. Her interests’ include reducing health inequalities and access to evidence based care. Jo’s portfolio includes Coronary Heart Disease, R&D, Emergency Planning (including Pandemic Influenza) and Health Impact Assessment. Jo is an accredited trainer for Public Health trainees and an assessor for Specialists in Public Health wishing to enter the Public Health Specialist Voluntary Register. Jo currently Chairs South Yorkshire NHS Research Ethics Committee.

Jo Cooke

Research Manager, Public Health, South Yorkshire Collaboration for Leadership, in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC), South Yorkshire Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC), Sheffield, South Yorkshire, UK

Jo Cooke, South Yorkshire Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC), UK.

Kathleen Anne McDaid

National Energy Action (NEA), South Yorkshire, UK

Kath McDaid works for fuel poverty charity NEA as a Regional Co-ordinator. Previous roles include: Health Development Manager, Sustainable Development Education Manager & Lecturer in Health & Social Care.