Frail older people ageing in place alone in Italy: Use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), perceived loneliness and social isolation

Published: 4 June 2024| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/9s86gv8762.1


The dataset presents some data collected for the study "Inclusive ageing in place” (IN-AGE), funded by Fondazione Cariplo (Italy), Grant N. 2017-0941, and regarding a purposive sample of 120 individuals aged 65 years and over (males and females). It was a cross-sectional qualitative survey which in 2019 was conducted by face-to-face and semi-structured interviews with frail older people without cognitive impairment, living at home, alone or with a private personal care assistant (PCA), in three Italian Regions (Lombardy, Marche, and Calabria). Both urban sites and rural locations were included. The dataset puts in relations how seniors use ICTs, in particular smartphone and tablet/personal computer (PC), their levels of education and physical limitations, in addition to their objective social isolation and subjective perceived loneliness. The difficulties in carrying out the activities of daily life were detected by ADLs and IADLs scales. The use of ICTs was explored by asking which type of device seniors are able to use independently Perceived loneliness was explored by means of open questions (e.g., “Do you feel alone/abandoned?”). Social isolation was assessed with questions on type (e.g., by telephone) and frequency (e.g., daily) of contacts with family, friendship and neighborhood networks, for intimate confidences. A qualitative analysis was conducted following the Framework Analysis Technique (reading of the interviews, identification of categories, construction of thematic chart, and interpretation of results). A manual thematic content analysis was carried out. Qualitative dimensions were also quantifiied, in terms of count of statements, for providing an introductory picture of the explored dimensions. Moreover, further quantitative classifications were provided (by means of Microsoft Excel 2023). The level of physical limitations was assessed with four grades (mild, moderate, high, very high). The perceived loneliness was assessed as presence-absence of this feeling at four levels (absent/mild, moderate, high, very high). The social isolation was assessed as presence/absence of confidants and related daily contacts. Main results showed that smartphone and PC/tablet were used by older respondents mainly to talk with family members, and those more educated and without serious functional limitations are more willing and able to adopt ICTs. Findings also indicate that seniors who know how to use ICTs report mainly low/moderate loneliness, and less social isolation. These results can offer insights for policymakers on policies for mitigating possible loneliness and social isolation of frail seniors with the help of ICTs, also developing adequate e-training programs. The dataset is provided in open format (Microsoft Excel) and includes the following: a “numeric” dataset regarding the unlabelled dimensions used for statistics elaboration; a codebook with the complete variables list and variables labels we used.





Social Sciences


Fondazione Cariplo