Digital Boomers

what is digital boomers?

Digital Boomers is a collaborative research project encompassing 15 organisations that came together in 18 months. We explored how older people and adults with disabilities could be supported to use digital tools to live more independently. The outcomes are a deep insight report and a theory of change to help get people to use, trust and love technology.

digital boomers insight report and theory of change

Our research explored how people with additional needs already use technology, how professionals feel about it, and where the opportunities might lie to better support independence, health and wellbeing using digital tools. We gathered some myth-busting evidence on older people are living alongside tech, and our key findings stand the test of time. Rethink Partners and Healthwatch Essex undertook the insight, meeting face-to-face with citizens and professionals to have 160 in-person conversations, 21 in-depth interviews and 10 discussion groups. 

Digital Boomers theory of change

Digital Boomers full report

Digital Boomers report - short version

Easy read report

Using a theory of change methodology we…


Enable people access to technology to help them live independently at home through developing their skills and confidence with, and led by peers

Leverage the existing tech curiosity of older people to harness the power of tech they are already using (our insight provided myth-busting evidence of how much tech older people are already using!)

Provide safe and friendly ways for people to explore and play with tech before deciding what’s right for them

Inspire people to think about tech differently, increase independence and wellbeing – and moreover, have fun

Support health and care organisations to affect culture change and inspire digital activation


Benefits to public services


Increases confidence in tech, allowing channel shift of citizens and greater independence

Builds skills, confidence and capability in technology to prevent illness or decline in illness, reducing the need for care packages and pressure on health services

Enables citizens and patients to understand what they can self-purchase to increase their health and wellbeing


Contact us

Digital Boomers Insight and Report

In 2018 we published a report considering how technology can be better used across Essex to promote independent living for older people. We gathered some perception-busting evidence on how older people in Essex are using tech, and considered what we might do to enhance this with regards to health and wellbeing.

Rethink Partners and Healthwatch Essex undertook insight across the county, meeting face-to-face with citizens and professionals: travelling to 24 of our towns and villages to have 160 in-person conversations, 21 in-depth interviews and 10 discussion groups.


Older people are more tech savvy than they realise. Professionals and family members regularly underestimate this; we are a significant limiting factor through our unsubstantiated but deeply-held assumptions.


Older people trust their peers to recommend tech and share experiences and are happy to learn from young people. They would also trust professionals to recommend health-related tech


Older people want to have fun with tech and
don’t want to be labelled as ‘old people’.


Older people want to use tech to connect with their loved ones and sometimes have a competitive streak when adopting new digital habits.


Not every community has a go-to knowledgeable ‘techie’ person for advice and support, but where they do it builds confidence and increases take-up.


Older people don’t feel they are doing tech ‘right’ and are just getting by – but this isn’t stopping them having a go.