14 Feb 2020
Many organisations do fantastic work in this field, particularly around tackling digital exclusion with older age groups through skills training.
It is clear that those over 75 are not as well served by digital as other age groups. Although evidence shows that there is a significant engagement with digital among those aged 55-64 (“half of people aged 55-64 have a social media profile”: Ofcom media use 2015 report), there remains a stark difference when comparing usage between younger and older age groups.
|KEY FACT: “Those at older ages (75+) are over five times more likely not to be using the internet than individuals aged 55 to 64.” Age UK Digital inclusion report, 2013|
There are clear benefits to be obtained from using digital technology and services – from connecting to family and friends, learning more about hobbies and interests, through to easier use of banking and services. So what are the challenges for older age groups that prevents more widespread adoption?
In assessing the landscape I found that there are a number of barriers that go beyond digital skills training:
There will always be a need for innovation, and in the ageing space there is demand for more specialised products and services that meet the particular needs of much older age groups. However I believe excellent products & services already exist, but they are not reaching older consumers who would benefit from access to and use of digital, because of gaps in the ‘digital supply chain’.
Ageing Better is looking to work closely with organisations (VCS, public & private) to explore what can be done to identify and address some of these barriers. Our ambition is to support Ageing Better’s overall aim of a better later life for everyone by assessing how we can increase the take-up of digital services, and the benefits they bring, to more people.
One area we are exploring is mapping the networks of individuals, looking at their links to family, friends and community, up through to local organisations and national-level services, to demonstrate where and how the digital supply chain is broken. We can then develop these maps to connect organisations, services and products through to the close networks of individuals
I believe that by working together to identify and bridge the gaps in the digital supply chain, we can find a way to allow many more people to enjoy the benefits of digital.
We hope to share more progress on this project in the coming weeks on our Digital project page.