A Double Burden of Exclusion? Digital and Social Exclusion of Older Adults in Times of COVID-19

J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2021 Feb 17;76(3):e99-e103. doi: 10.1093/geronb/gbaa098.


The COVID-19 pandemic has excluded older adults from a society based on physical social contact. Vulnerable populations like older adults also tend to be excluded from digital services because they opt not to use the internet, lack necessary devices and network connectivity, or inexperience using the technology. Older adults who are frail and are not online, many of whom are in long-term care facilities, struggle with the double burden of social and digital exclusion. This paper discusses the potential outcomes of this exclusion and provides recommendations for rectifying the situation, with a particular focus on older adults in long-term care facilities.

Keywords: Aging; COVID-19; Digital inequality; Exclusion; Internet.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging* / psychology
  • COVID-19*
  • Female
  • Homes for the Aged
  • Humans
  • Internet Access* / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Nursing Homes
  • Social Isolation*
  • Social Networking*
  • Social Participation* / psychology