As services of all kinds increasingly gravitate to digital platforms, the pandemic has led to an exponential demand for digital skills. A 2017 survey in the National Capital Region (NCR) found this 86% of seniors did not know how to use digital technology or computers. India’s elderly population is projected to touch 194 million in 2031 from 138 million in 2021, an increase of 41% in a decade, according to the National Statistical Office (NSO) Elderly in India 2021 report. Internet access and digital literacy are becoming vital for civic participation; the possibility of accessing health care, banking and social and economic services have taken the path of digitization and the pace of digital innovation has yet to be inclusive of their needs.
The rapid digitization of all aspects of civilization is leaving many elderly people excluded. Although many seniors frequently use information and communication technologies, many are found in remote areas and Tier II and III cities. The way to achieve digital literacy and inclusion among India’s seniors is to increase accessibility and make them aware of the different services and benefits of the digital world. For the elderly elderly, roadblocks such as decreased vision and reduced mobility and access to transportation can affect their past interests and routines. The good news is that technology can help them keep their hobbies and a greater familiarity with digital tools will also reduce addiction, increase autonomy and boost self-esteem among India’s rapidly growing elderly population.
Here’s how you can ensure digital inclusion at home:
Step 1: end the age
Age is a serious obstacle to digital inclusion. To achieve digital inclusion it is necessary to stop the train of thought that older people cannot be technically proficient or are not open to learning and adapting to new things and situations. We must learn to be patient with them and remember that not everyone has equal access or is associated with equal or advanced health and social benefits, including better mental health, greater physical activity, and more social interactions.
Step 2 Keep it simple
Start with easy-to-use devices; help them choose a phone, tablet or computer that is simple in design and easy to use. Explain the internet as simply as possible, make sure you don’t overload them with overly complicated passages, and avoid using jargon. Answer all their questions and show them the easiest way to complete a task. If necessary, write down the steps for them.
Step 3 Adjust the devices to meet their needs
If someone has a problem with their eyesight, you can adjust the brightness and font size. You can also set up a device to read text aloud. If they have a disorder that affects their ability to use a keyboard and mouse, allow them to access touch devices that better suit their needs.
The lesson from step 4 on digital security is a must
Help them understand the importance of protecting personal information on the Internet. Help them set up a password manager that can help them log into the different platforms they will use. Tell them about spam emails and explain how the internet can be used to scam and collect information from people.
Step 5 Show them the lighter side of the digital world
Are they social and love to stay in touch? Do they love to watch movies or read books? Introduce them to social media, help them connect with their friends and family, make sure they know how to use them. You can also teach them how to use apps like Audible or listen to podcasts. If they’re movie buffs, make sure they have access to streaming services like Amazon and Netflix. This way they will warm up to the idea of using digital devices.
Step 6 Time to teach them the essentials
Explaining the benefits of technology to an older person can make them interested in learning more. Introduce them to the wonders of online payment methods, mobile and internet banking. Make sure they are familiar with the basics, including shopping apps, delivery apps, creating an ongoing subscription order for basic needs, and pharmacies that offer online ordering and delivery options. Introduce them to Uber and Ola. Help them download the apps and guide them through the process.
Step 7 Practice with them
Allow them to explore the device or app on the go. Help them navigate, answer their questions, make it an activity. Make a day – Order a pizza together and pay for it through an online payment method; watch a movie together on a streaming platform; book a taxi to visit the mall. Have them do a bank transaction. This will help them internalize the steps and make them feel fulfilled in what they needed to learn.