Taipale, Sakari, Oinas, Tomi, Tammelin Mia. 2018. Linked lives: receiving and giving help in technology use in later life.   Innovation in Aging, 2018, Vol. 2, 168-169 No. S1 DOI:10.1093/geroni/igy023.607


This study investigates how older people differ from younger people in terms of giving and receiving help in the use of a computer and a digital television. The analysis focuses on the effects of gender and health status. The data was derived from individual interviews (N=3,306) conducted in connection the Finnish Time Use Survey in 2009 and 2010.

We employ logistic regression analysis to examine the relationship of health measures and background factors on giving and receiving help. The results show that people aged 55–64 (OR=3.9) and 65 or more (OR=4.4) received help in the use of these two technologies more often than the youngest age group (10–16).

Respondents with a long-term disease (OR=1.4) and those living alone (OR=1.5) also received more often help than others. However, men (OR=4.1) and people aged less than 55 (OR=5.5) gave help more often than others. There was also an interaction effect between age and gender on help giving: the gender difference in favor of men decreases with age, being non-significant among people aged 65 or more. Health status was not associated with the provision of help in technology use.

The study sheds light on the ways in which digital technologies engage people in mutually interlocking relationship of help giving/receiving in aging societies. Along the lines of the ‘linked lives’ approach (Elder), the study suggests that digital technologies link the lives of older people with the lives of others not only at a communicative level, but also at a concrete level of help exchange.