Senior Australians are becoming digitally connected now more than ever. Technology used to be something for the young ones, but not anymore. If the global pandemic has taught us anything, it’s how important it is to stay connected. To do this, older people need to use their smart phones, tablets and desktop computers to do so. Otherwise, older people will get left behind with technology advancements. In 2016 the government made a $50 million commitment to improving digital literacy for seniors. This included a focus on online safety. This was in response to almost 8% of elderly people remaining disengaged with technology.
According to the Pew Research Center, more than ½ of people over 65 years have a smart phone and use the internet. From online shopping, to checking the stock market and the weather, age is not an issue for many seniors. But those older people who live in residential aged care are at risk of exclusion from digital technology. Some aged care facilities supply iPads and desktop computers. But there’s often nobody to educate residents on how to use them. And there’s often no wifi available for residents use either. Therefore, they have to rely on family members for digital support. This can be problematic when there can be quite a span in time between visits. By becoming digitally literate, social isolation for the elderly reduces. It gives seniors the opportunity to email, video chat and remain social via social media.
As you get older, staying connected to the outside world has it’s challenges. People continue on with their busy lives, and often you become isolated and lonely. If you’re alone and isolated, technology can help you improve your connection to the world.
It’s common knowledge that staying social in later life improves quality of life, health & wellbeing. By connecting with loved ones via video chat, messaging and emails, you’ll be able to stay connected to them another way. By learning such skills, you’ll also have the opportunity to search the internet for anything. This could range from direct health information, to recipes and news articles. You can learn to play games online, download eBooks and much more to keep you interactive and busy.
With an increasing ageing population, the need for seniors to become digitally literate is so important. This includes learning how to stay safe online, and troubleshooting computer issues. That way, older Australians can pay bills online, shop online, socialise online, and stay up to date with current affairs online. With some education, they can do these activities safely, without feeling threatened by scammers.
If you feel that you need some education and support with digital technology, there’s help available. There are community organisations who offer affordable courses that you can join in. The Australian government offers the ‘Be Connected Network.’ It’s a network of community organisations that promote digital inclusion. You can search for a partner of the ‘Be Connected Network’ online or call their helpline on 1300 795 897.
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