Digital inclusion in older life

It’s something that we keep talking about here at OPAAL – because we know how important it is; digital Inclusion for older people.
We know that those aged 65 and over are far less likely to be online than younger people. The Office of National Statistics holds data on the numbers of internet users in the UK. And this information shows that of the 4.8 million people in the UK who have NEVER used the internet, nearly 80% are over the age of 65.
The idea of going online can be overwhelming. So here are our top tips if you have the chance to help any internet newbies!
🖱 Keep it simple – what are the person’s top priorities? Keeping in touch with family? Shopping? Making appointments? Then just help them learn the first one or two.
💻Show them on a device that is easy for them to use. We have found iPads to be very popular with older people – we believe the Queen enjoys using her iPad 😁 – but smart phones and desk tops can appeal to other people for various reasons. Find out what device works for your older person, and show them a few simple things on that.
🖥 If your person doesn’t have a device, show them how to access public devices – perhaps in a library or on a device shared with others. Add to your list of “must knows” privacy settings, so that they can make decisions about if they are comfortable with others knowing what they are looking at. Or if it is an option, explore getting them a device of their own.
It’s no secret that life in residential settings can be very lonely for some people right now, and the restrictions may not be lifted any time soon. Furthermore, we can’t guarantee that there won’t be a second lock down, and if that happens, we all want the older people in our lives to weather that as best as they possibly can!
And remember, this is the kind of thing an independent advocate can help with. Either for you, or the older person in your life.