Ageing and New Media: a new analysis of older Australians' support network

Supporting the social inclusion of older people by improving their digital literacy

This project re-evaluates policies of ageing by focusing on mobility, migration and new media. It examines how support networks for older people are increasingly dispersed due to the greater mobility of their family, friends and care services.

Access to social networks and a capacity to belong and engage with other people is now understood as a significant indicator of healthy ageing. Importantly, the increasing uptake of new communication technologies means that social activities, social interactions and a sense of belonging are no longer limited to local, proximate networks and communities.

What remains unknown, but that will be addressed by this project, is the role of distant and virtual support networks in the lives of older Australians, the potential and actual role of new media in the experiences of older people, and their use of effective support networks.

The insights gained by this project will be used to radically update aged care policy and service delivery.

The research includes a survey of the sector as well as participant observation, ethnographic life history interviews and network analysis to compare experiences of diverse older migrants and non-migrants in both urban and regional locations, at home and in institutional care.

The project is being led by Professor Loretta Baldassar of UWA's School of Social Sciences and Associate Professor Raelene Wilding of Latrobe University. This three-year project secured Australian Research Council Funding in 2016.


Examine the impact of mobility and migration on the dispersal of support networks for older people

Evaluate the current and potential role of new media in fostering new and existing networks

Extend theoretical, policy and practice understanding of healthy ageing in place by introducing a mobilities and new media perspective

Become a partner or collaborator: help further our understanding of aged care practices


This project involves collaborating with the following groups. We’re always looking for new collaborators to get involved and help advance our understanding of current and future aged care practices. If you’re interested, contact project lead Professor Loretta Baldassar on the below details.


Volunteer participation

Volunteers are always welcome to join in the fun and help us improve the digital literacy of elderly participants. If you’d like to get involved, contact Professor Baldassar on the details below.

Contact Professor Loretta Baldassar