Older people are becoming more digitally savvy
Now more than ever ageing Australians are digitally connected, and gone are the days that technology was just for younger generations.
Nowadays many seniors own smart devices such as smart phones. According to the Pew Research Center, more than 50% of over 65s are internet users and own a smart phone. This is a big market that’s increasing, but there are still age related gaps creating a digital divide.
According to Dr Wendy Wrapson from AUT’s National Institute for Public Health and Mental Health Research, older people who live in aged care homes are at risk of exclusion from the modern world of digital technology. There’s a strong reliance on family members of residents in care to have them engage in technology.
Families helping the older generation to become technologically savvy
By teaching older family members in care how to connect online and use digital technology, it aids the person living in care to become digitally connected. Learning how to use email, to text message or even call on a mobile phone can be helpful lessons.
Many senior Australians have these digital skills, and are able to navigate the internet, engaging in social media and using apps on their mobile devices. And although family members support the use of digital technology, many aged care homes don’t offer wifi to their residents, and don’t provide shared computers for residents’ use.
Family also prove to be important in supporting their older loved ones use of technology by teaching new skills, and troubleshooting any problems.
Staying connected in a digital world
Moving into aged care can affect a person’s ability to remain connected to the outside world and their loves ones. This can be due to physical distance and limited travel options.
Research shows that socialising improves our health, wellbeing and quality of life.
By having access to the internet, residents can stay socially connected in many ways. Not only can they connect with loved ones via video, email and text message, but they can also access the news, social media, the weather and health information.
Digital Technology in Residential Aged Care
It’s clear that digital engagement won’t be for everyone, but having the option to access the technology becomes increasingly significant in our modern world.
If you’re a techno savvy senior, or hoping to access online services when you move into care, take these factors into consideration when searching for aged care support services that are right for you. Ask the aged care facility if they offer internet services, computers, technology classes, etc.
Older Australians an expanding consumer group. It’s paramount that aged care providers and the online world begin to work together to meet the needs of our seniors.
If you’re an older Australian with the desire to become more digitally savvy, there are many community organisations that offer teaching sessions at a low cost, or at no cost.