Design Challenges for Reconnecting in Later Life: A Qualitative Study

Francisco Ibarra Grzegorz Kowalik Marcos Baez Radoslaw Nielek Norma Lau Luca Cernuzzi Fabio Casati

Friendships and social interactions are renown contributors to wellbeing. As such, keeping a healthy amount of relationships becomes very important as people age and the size of their social network tends to decrease. In this paper, we take a step back and explore reconnection —find out about or re-contact old friends, an emerging topic due to the increased use of computer-mediated technology by older adults to maintain friendships and form new ones. We report on our findings from semi-structured interviews with 28 individuals from Costa Rica and Poland. The interviews aimed to explore whether there is a wish to reconnect, and the challenges encountered by older adults to reconnect. We contribute with design considerations for tools allowing older adults to reconnect, discussing opportunities for technology.