Loneliness is not a bug with a technological solution

Helping elderly people to use the internet is a good idea. But let’s not mistake broadband connections for social ones.

In the UK, four out of 10 over-65s do not have internet access. At a time when so much of our lives is conducted online – the payment of bills, access to information – that should be a real source of concern about potential social exclusion.

But does this mean that by widening internet access, elderly people will feel more socially connected? Or, even, more radically, as a new report suggests, could this be a solution for loneliness in old age?

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Lorna Page: the write stuff

A 93-year-old’s novel has allowed her to escape the fate that most of us, when elderly, most fear. Let’s celebrate her

Lorna Page’s success has clearly touched a chord. The 93-year-old has just sold her first novel and spent the proceeds on buying a large home to share with her elderly friends. At first glance, the story’s appeal is to the secret scribblers among us. They say that there’s a novel in everyone and many people, myself included, like to believe that one day we’ll have the time and space to coax it out of ourselves. Moreover, we like to imagine that it is going to be a success. Realistically, though, we also probably think if we haven’t written it by 50 we probably never will. Page’s success is like suddenly getting a reprieve.

Full article: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2008/aug/13/socialcare.health

Young victims count too

If only police and politicians took the mugging of teenagers as seriously as the car-jacking of Mercedes

Official responses to the recent well-publicised car-jackings speak volumes about who and what this society is prepared to protect. Scotland Yard has now been given the go ahead to deploy 11 “elite armed response vehicles”, manned by marksmen wearing protective clothing and armed with rifles and handguns.

Full article: http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2002/feb/12/ukcrime.comment