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Communication of the Elderly During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Silva Banovic, Osman Sinanovic, Slavica Jankovic, Nedim Patkovic, Samir Smajlovic.


Background: Restrictive measures implemented by governments around the world to control the coronavirus have an impact on communication, especially the communication of the elderly. Objective: The aim for the article is to determine the attitudes of the elderly towards the ways of communication during the COVID 19 pandemic, and to present the challenges faced by the elderly when using digital ways of communication. The goal is also to point out the importance of providing adequate social support to the elderly. Methods: The sample consisted of 71 respondents from Bosnia and Herzegovina, aged over 60 years, divided into two groups. The questionnaire was used to gather information from respondents on their demographic characteristics as well as to examine participants’ attitudes and confidence regarding the manner and risk of communication associated with COVID-19. Results and Discussion: The results of this research showed that the elderly are actively using digital technologies, but that they are largely dissatisfied with their skills in using digital technologies. Most of the information during the COVID 19 pandemic is given to elderly people via television and telephone (video) conversations with family members and friends. 57.7% of the elderly stated that they greatly lacked direct communication, and it turned out that people living in elderly homes were in a slightly more favorable position. As many as 4/5 of the respondents reported feelings of anxiety, fear, loneliness, and depression. Conclusion: The older part of the population (those over 60 years old), especially in developing countries, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, is facing the challenge of “digitization of communication“. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the elderly are “calling“ for special support and the provision of training and access to technological resources in order to reduce negative psychological consequences and go one step further in creating an “elder-friendly” society.

Key words: communication, COVID-19, elderly, third age.

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