Why digitization for senior citizens?

Digitization is changing the way people communicate, get information, consume, maintain social contacts or are mobile.

With the use of digital technologies and the use of the Internet, there are new opportunities for older people to shape their everyday lives and participate in social life. This should be encouraged especially during the corona pandemic, because here participation in social life is restricted, especially for older people.

So the question arises:

What is the importance of digital

Communication technologies for social integration

and feelings of loneliness in older people?

The results of empirical studies suggest overall

to a positive effect digital
Communication technologies:

When older people are digital
Use communication media and the Internet,
are they better integrated socially and have less

Feelings of loneliness than before. Participating in digital change means up

on the one hand, of the advantages of this change

benefit and be able to use them to shape your own life.

Active participation in digital technologies can support an independent life, ensure social participation, strengthen care and generally improve the living conditions of older people.

How does this specifically affect our E-Senior 2.0 project?

Digital technologies can support regional and neighborhood-related networking and participation, the more the new digital offerings build on and connect to existing analog structures and networks. For this reason we decided on a project in which the participants receive the video tutorials on the regional television station.

Germany's Eighth Age Report highlights that many model projects have shown that corresponding offers can improve economic development and municipal services of general interest with a view to local supply, mobility, health and care (Ministry of Family Affairs, 2020).

The goal of digital services of general interest should therefore always be to strengthen participation outside of the digital realm. Citizens of all age groups, with special consideration of vulnerable groups, should therefore be involved in the development of concepts for digitally supported services of general interest.

The process of co-creation in the development of the video tutorials together with the senior citizens as well as the implementation of the “smartphone cafés” with the help of students who support the senior citizens represents an intergenerational and participatory approach.

In the group of older people, a significantly larger proportion is excluded from the participation and the possibilities of digital technologies than in other age groups. Here, too, people with a low or medium level of education have less access to the Internet and are less able to use digital communication media.

In the light of the prevailing pandemic, the disadvantage of the older age group when it comes to access to digital communication media and the risk of social isolation, whether due to increasing age or changing living conditions, or due to ongoing restrictions, we perceive the importance of the older population digitally further training. To promote (digital) participation at the local level, to raise awareness of the importance of digital further education in old age and also to strengthen the self-confidence of older people with regard to their skills.

The use of digital communication technologies can help to intensify relationships and maintain contact with trusted caregivers - a circumstance that plays a role, for example, in the case of children and grandchildren who live far away or in the context of the need for help and care. However, they can also be used to build new relationships and expand your own social network, as they offer a low-threshold entry into social contacts. This could be particularly important for people who live alone and have few personal contacts, who are therefore at increased risk of social isolation.

GoldenMe asbl is based on a competence-oriented model in which older people are able to act competently and independently in the digital world. Those who cannot acquire the necessary digital skills themselves should get the right support and advice. This competence-oriented image of man is self-evident: too often older people are portrayed as those who cannot keep up with technical developments, who reject technical innovations and only react passively and subsequently to such developments.

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