Device Ownership ‘Essential’ for Safety and Cognitive Health in Retirement

Device Ownership ‘Essential’ for Safety and Cognitive Health in Retirement

While device ownership amongst older people has risen in recent years, there is still a large proportion of people 55+ unable to access the internet at home. This figure is sparking concern amongst support groups, many of which believe that connectivity is key to a happy and healthy retirement. One such group is 4Retirees, a fully interactive online community which says that device ownership is ‘essential’ in the digital age.

Following the publication of recent statistics which show that 30% of over 55’s do not currently own a smartphone, 4Retirees is speaking out to highlight the importance of connectivity for cognitive learning, emotional support and personal safety. 4Retirees, which provides a friendly and welcoming digital space where older people can meet new friends, share experiences, sign up for courses, and learn new skills, has seen firsthand how access to digital resources can enrich lives, especially during challenging periods such as the COVID-19 pandemic. It has purchased 10 digital devices to lend to retirees lacking connecitivity at home at no cost to tackle the problem firsthand.

“Although I’m 67 now, I still enjoy getting out and about and taking road trips to exciting new destinations, but the COVID-19 outbreak has prevented me from doing what I love and that’s made me feel quite anxious,” says 4Retirees user Mike Ramon from Chicago. “When I signed up for 4Retirees, I wasn’t really expecting to get much from the platform, but through an online course in Google Earth applications, I found I was able to travel virtually. Now, I plan my road trips each morning and end up in places I never even knew existed.”

4Retirees offers a range of free online group classes such as Google Earth to thousands of users to help retirees develop new skills and support both during COVID and beyond. is a thriving worldwide network brings like minded people together, even at times when social distancing prevents socialisation.

“Through our work, and from chatting with our users, we can see just how vital and significant a role platform such as 4Retirees play in the wellbeing of the older community, particularly during social distancing,” says Magdalena Kusyk, Founder of 4Retirees. “Unfortunately, research shows that there is still a large number of older people who are not connected, and our concern is that these individuals may find it difficult to maintain friendships, enjoy their hobbies, and access valuable educational resources without a device, especially as many resources have moved online during the pandemic.”

While users such as Mike have relied on the 4Retirees network for fun and entertainment, others have found the platform to be essential in boosting personal safety and increasing confidence. UK-based Jenifer Mugby, 68, credits 4Retirees with settling her concerns about privacy following a neighbour’s experience with identity theft. She said, “4Retirees has been an eye opening experience for me as I learnt that I had been quite naive in terms of how I was sharing my information online. The online course helped me to learn more about calls and messaging privacy, and taught me how to configure my mobile phone settings to keep me safe and secure online”.

Although it is understood that many older people are reluctant to use a connected device due to unfamiliarity with the technology, device ownership could be key to maintaining cognitive health in retirement. A recent study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research shows that older people owning either a desktop computer or smartphone had significantly reduced levels of cognitive decline than those without a connected device. The researchers concluded that the stimulating activities offered through online resources were responsible for cognitive wellbeing.

4Retirees is free to join, with basic membership offering access to online courses, community newsletters, social media groups, and articles for insightful reads. With paid membership, members can also connect directly with others, make new friends, take part in community discussions, and more.

To find out more about 4Retirees, visit