According to the WHO, between 2000 and 2050, the proportion of the world’s population over 60 years of age will double from about 11% to 22%. The silver economy is a growing market and the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated its growth. Last March, the lockdown shaked up all of our habits, and our elders had to adapt with more difficulty than us. Not knowing how long this situation would last, senior citizens had to improve their digital literacy to avoid loneliness.
Senior citizens can use technology for many reasons: to consult the latest news, to keep in touch with friends and family, to shop online, or to book trips or cabs. However, there are barriers to the use of these social networks due to their age and their reduced cognitive abilities. Touch screens, keyboards size, frequent changes of interfaces are problems for senior citizens.
Improving your digital literacy: the only way to stay in touch with your loved ones
Fighting against loneliness was the first motivation to learn these new technologies. Many senior citizens living alone have been confronted with the most brutal isolation. To keep a link with their family or loved ones, phone calls were not enough. They remain the most used communication tool but eye contact is lacking. Many of them then discovered the potential of live video. They can share moments of conviviality with their children or to blow out grandchildren’s birthday candles.
The most autonomous of senior citizens still living alone and owning a smartphone or tablet were mostly using WhatsApp as instant messaging. They discovered the application’s video feature, which was widely used and very successful.
After the lockdown, more than half of them are still using this technology they never thought they would use. “A slim majority (56%) of those over 50 years of age say that new technologies allow for a better quality of relationship compared to phone calls. More women (69%) agree with this statement. “(Séniosphère conseil, June 2020). Video chat applications are a booming market. Especially for senior citizens. For them, it is a more than effective way to never feel alone.
Senior citizens are now shopping safe…
The proportion of the population that has most respected the lockdown are the seniors citizens. These are at-risk people who had to avoid contact as much as possible.
For the most geographically isolated, it was necessary to adapt to go shopping for basic necessities. For many of them, the delivery of meals or the drive were essential. The drive concept has been known for several years, but the health crisis has multiplied its followers among seniors.
Also, retirees were the only ones not teleworking. They had a lot of free time for hobbies such as crafts or gardening. As all unnecessary stores were closed, they had to order on the internet and found a lot of advantages like ess time wearing a mask and no more long line-ups.
This situation has therefore greatly contributed to the development of online purchasing for seniors, for security and logistical reasons during this period. Today democratized among all populations, e-commerce continues to adapt to all its targets.
… and consults safe
One of the technologies that has most appealed to seniors after visio calls is online medical consultations.
On the French market, Doctolib is an app known to take medical appointments online. Within a year, it became the first online medical consultation platform.
Three out of four doctors have set up online consultation since the beginning of the Covis-19 epidemic.
Also, mental health problems have increased significantly since the first confinement. The elderly being the most isolated, they have been able to consult applications to talk to a therapist, to distract themselves or to meditate. For some, technological tools have become therapists.
No more stereotypes. Senior citizens have been forced to improve their digital literacy so as not to be put on the side of the rest of the population.Today, digital is becoming part of their daily life. Brands have understood this and are integrating it more and more in their advertising. Seniors have become a target like any other. Social interactions are more and more complicated, we need easy to use interfaces to reach everyone. No one should be isolated.
Everyone should be able to easily improve their digital literacy.