‘Wealth of the Web’ Report Launched

27 January 2014

Age UK London Calls for More to be Done to Help Get Older Londoners Online

Age UK London has today launched a report outlining recommendations for getting more of the 2.1 million older people in London online.

78% of Londoners aged over 75 are not online and a total of 661,000 people over the age of 55 in London have never used the internet; Wealth of the Web: Broadening Horizons Online tackles the issue of how to decrease these figures. Specific recommendations are made for older people themselves, the Age UK London Network, voluntary sector organisations, regional and local government, funders and those in the private sector.

The report looks at the obstacles to older people being online, which range from lack of interest to financial cost and lack of training and support as well as the drivers behind getting older people online which include family support and specific interests and hobbies.

Samantha Mauger, Chief Executive of Age UK London, said: “Far too many older people in London are not online – the fact that 661,000 Londoners aged over 55 have never been online is shocking. Something needs to be done to change that. We want to address the reasons why there are not more older people online along with everyone involved in this area and also show older people the many, many positive impacts being online can have.”

David Shalit, Chair of Positive Ageing in London, said: “Positive Ageing in London is wholeheartedly behind this report and welcomes the recommendations as well as the co-operation it calls for. I personally started using computers after I was 50 and have seen the advantages and benefits first hand. We want more older people in London to gain the benefits of being online and will support this aim across the capital.”

Some key recommendations are:

•Regional and local government should provide funding for adult learning so that older Londoners can have affordable computer-training

•Funders should support research designed to further understand motivational and behavioural elements of decisions to use online technologies

•Private companies should incorporate older people as co-designers and testers of products to ensure user-friendly operation

•Suitably skilled older computer-users can act as ‘digital champions’, offering case-study evidence that older Londoners can relate to, giving greater understanding of potential barriers and drivers and potentially assisting in co-design and delivery of support programmes

•Voluntary sector organisations should develop and trial initiatives to support all older Londoners to get online if they wish to do so

The report also looks at four key groups of older people in relation to being online: those who are offline and uninterested, offline but interested, restricted use but online, expansive use and online. The report recommendations aim to support older people move into the latter groups.

The launch, which took place at a Positive Ageing in London event, also incorporated a workshop for older people who were either not online or else had restricted use online with the aim to identify specific drivers for individuals.

Age UK London will also be hosting a Q&A on the topic of digital inclusion for older people from their Twitter handle @ageuklondon on Tuesday 28 January at 12.00pm.


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