The elderly population in a fast growing digital world

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Digital capabilities are marked  essential for firms in order to stay alive in current society. This is not only applicable to firms, but also to human beings. Currently it is already hard for people that do not use digital technologies to stay “up to date”. This while the biggest technological growth is yet to come. Banking, public transport and governmental services are transforming from face-to-face services to do it yourself online.

The first Personal Computers (PC’s) were launched around 1980, the Internet as recently as 1996 (for private users). People born far before this era, are having trouble with the pace of the developments. New generations are learning digital skills already in primary school. As example we can look at the schools in Finland. Finnish students will no longer be taught handwriting at school, with typing lessons taking its place. “Fluent typing skills are an important national competence. The switch will be a major cultural change, but typing is more relevant to everyday life,” says Minna Harmanen from the National Board of Education. In contrast to the new generations, the older generations never had any form of educations on digital subjects. Given the rapid growth of the elderly in our population as well as the potential the Internet holds for them, this is something worth consideration (Eastman & Iyer, 2004).

What would be good for this group of people, is to set-up a program to provide them with the necessary digital skills. The government could cooperate with healthcare facilities and organizations, to reach out to elderly people. This seems to be a large expense, but it will decrease costs in the future as well. Also it will help to improve vitality of elderly people, giving them the feeling they can still contribute to society. With the growing human life expectancy in mind, this would be a good prospect for older generations.

 

References
Eastman, J. & Iyer, R. (2004). The elderly’s uses and attitudes towards the Internet. Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 21 Iss: 3, pp.208 – 220
Griffiths, S. (2016). Virtual reality training can stop the elderly from taking a tumble. Available online at : http://www.wired.co.uk/article/falling-over-vr [Last viewed on December 4th 2016)

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