Communication and Isolation among the Elderly, 1968


Abstract copyright UK Data Service and data collection copyright owner.

The purpose of this study was to discover the use made by old people of postal and telephone services and also their personal health and social contacts.

Main Topics:

Section on telephone ownership and use: reason for having telephone installed, whether respondent's telephone bills are subsidised, if so, from what source. (If respondent has no telephone, nearest telephone to his home (6 categories), whether anyone is available to take messages or fetch him to the telephone and whether respondent has ever owned a telephone, is recorded.) Data are given on the use made of telephone during last year (i.e. frequency of use, whether respondent receives more calls than he makes, person to whom he most often speaks on telephone). Any difficulty in actually using a telephone is recorded (6 categories - e.g. deafness, fear of telephones etc.). Finally, if respondent could choose between having an extra $20 per annum and having a free telephone, which he would prefer. Use of post: whether respondent writes letters, if so, to whom he most often writes, frequency of writing, whether he receives more personal letters than he sends. The address of the person with whom he is most in postal contact is recorded. Main difficulty respondent experiences when writing letters is recorded (i.e. poor eyesight, illiteracy etc. - 5 categories) and, finally, respondent is asked whether he would like to receive more letters (3-point scale). Personal physical information: state of eyesight and hearing of respondent is given (4 categories for each), whether he suffers from any disability which makes it difficult to go out (if yes, nature of disability is recorded together with length of time he has suffered). Whether respondent is able to go out unaided, if so, how often. Frequency of use of various methods of transportation (8 categories - e.g. train, bus, invalid carriage etc.), whether the railway station, tube station (London), bus stop, post office, local shopping centre, doctor, are within walking distance of respondent's home. Frequency of visits to clubs, cinema, bingo and places of religious worship are also given (over past year) and, finally, whether respondent would like to go out more often. Social contacts: number of children, brothers and sisters still alive, other relatives and friends respondent is still in contact with, whether he has seen any of them in last week or month, whether any live within a ten-mile radius (information given is precisely defined), respondent is asked whether he would like to see children, relatives or friends more often, also whether he considers neighbours to be friendly (3-point scale) and whether he has chatted with neighbours in past week - or to any of the people already talked about (i.e. children relatives, friends). The number of these people who have telephones is recorded. Amount of time spent alone (5 categories). Problem considered by respondent to be the greatest facing elderly people (i.e. lack of money, loneliness or boredom). Whether respondent prefers to use telephone or letter for keeping in touch with someone he cannot see regularly. Whether respondent is ever lonely (3-point scale). Readiness of access to help in case of emergency (9 categories). Finally, respondent's attitudes towards devices for calling help, such as bells, whistles etc. are assessed on a 3-point scale. Ownership of television, radio, record player, refrigerator, washing machine and motor vehicle recorded. As a 'coda' to the survey, respondents' knowledge of the Samaritan Organization is tested (i.e. whether they have heard of the Samaritans, perception of their role, whether they know where the nearest branch is or know the telephone number).

One-stage stratified or systematic random sample

1st stage - a sample of 175 constituencies (sorted into standard region, listed in descending order

Face-to-face interview

Metadata Access
Publisher UK Data Service
Publication Year 1974
Funding Reference Post Office
Rights No information recorded; <p>The Data Collection is available to UK Data Service registered users subject to the <a href="" target="_blank">End User Licence Agreement</a>.</p><p>Commercial use of the data requires approval from the data owner or their nominee. The UK Data Service will contact you.</p>
OpenAccess true
Language English
Discipline Social Sciences
Spatial Coverage Great Britain