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IDIA2014 Conference
Port Elizabeth, South Africa
3-4 November 2014

The Impact of Mobile Phones on Quality of Life of the Elderly

Brett Mealor
Jean-Paul Van Belle
Centre for IT and National Development in Africa
Department of Information Systems
University of Cape Town
South Africa

Full paper


The impact of mobile devices of the overall well-being of individuals is to this day relatively under-researched. This research study focuses on the assessment of the impact of mobile phones on the quality of life of the elderly. Mobile phone adoption is increasing amongst elderly populations and the potential benefit of mobile phone usage, apart from being a convenient means of communication, includes maintaining relationships with social contacts as well a source of entertainment and mental stimulation. We adopted a positivist approach and used a model derived from a combination the CASP-19 quality of life framework with elements from the Kleine framework to conduct a stratified survey among elderly in the Western Cape. We found that, while no particular mobile phone usage was directly correlated with quality of life, when used in conjunction with one another they were able to explain a significant amount of the variation in quality of life amongst individuals, thus proving that a relationship existed between mobile phone usage and quality of life. Most significantly, evidence suggests that social media can help to preserve the social contacts of elderly individuals which translates to an increase in social connectedness and a decrease in feelings of social exclusion and isolation.

Key words

Mobile technology; Impact of ICTs; Quality of Life; Elderly; South Africa.