This article was published on September 17, 2013 and information contained within may now be out of date.
New data from Age UK reveals that 64 per cent of older people in Lincolnshire are offline, missing out on all of the benefits that the internet offers such as making savings and keeping in touch with loved ones.
The research, which comes at the start of the Charity’s annual ITea and Biscuits Week, also reveals that on average 61 per cent of older people in England are offline and that there are only four areas in England where the percentage of older people online, outnumber those who are offline. This week Age UK is running ITea and Biscuits Week to enable people who have never been online to try out technology for themselves.
The research sends a clear message to the government, local authorities and businesses about internet use amongst older people, many of whom are increasingly focused on getting people to access their services online.
More services from the private and public sectors are moving online in a bid to make significant cost savings. However if they want older people to use these services, they need to help them get online in the first place with tailored and on-going support.David Mortimer, Age UK
Commenting on the new findings, David Mortimer, Head of Digital Inclusion at Age UK, said: “It is concerning that in some parts of the country, more than twice as many older people are able to access the benefits of being online than in other areas, particularly as there appears to be a north / south divide around internet use amongst older people.
“The reasons behind this divide are wide and varied. We know for example that women aged 75 and over who live alone are the most likely group in society to have never been online. In addition, older people with lower economic wealth, those living alone and those in relatively worse health are far less likely to be online.
“We hope this data will highlight to the government, local authorities and businesses the work that needs to be done across the country to help older people to get online. More services from the private and public sectors are moving online in a bid to make significant cost savings. However if they want older people to use these services, they need to help them get online in the first place with tailored and on-going support.”
The internet can offer huge benefits to older people with recent research suggesting that those aged 65 and over online are nearly three times less likely to report being lonely than people who are offline. Being online also allows people to make savings and pursue hobbies.
The Charity is this week encouraging older people who have never been online to attend a local ITea and Biscuits Week session and calling on people who use technology to help an older person they know to get to grips with technology. To find an event or for more information visit www.ageuk.org.uk/itea-and-biscuits or call 0800 169 20 81.