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Published on 19 May 2011 01:00 AM

Experts from across Wales are gathering today to look at how the internet and other technology can improve the lives of older people.

Delegates at the Ageing Well in Wales conference in Cardiff organised by Age Cymru will discuss ways of encouraging older people to embrace technology and the benefits they’ll get from it.

Age Cymru’s Healthy Ageing Manager, Claire Bottomley, says:

“The internet is a part of modern life for many of us but for various reasons many older people are not taking advantage of the vast opportunities offered by being online.

“Research by the regulator Ofcom has found that some older people do not see any benefit to using the internet and have no intention of going online.

“However, other research has indicated that the main barriers to older people going online are concerns about security and affordability.

“With increasing numbers of financial, public and private sector services moving towards providing their information and advice online – often for economic reasons, it is essential to find a way to encourage more older people to make the most of the opportunities provided by the  internet.”   

Research by Age Cymru shows that over 50s are significantly less likely to use the internet than those aged 50 and under for shopping and financial services, often missing out on financial products, savings and offers that are only available online. 

The figures reveal that 82 per cent of under 50s shop on the internet, compared to just 56 per cent of over 50s, and that 72 per cent of  under 50s use the internet to access financial services, next to just 53  per cent of over 50s.

Claire Bottomley says:

“Clearly there are significant attitudinal, institutional and environmental barriers that we need to overcome to get older people to embrace the internet and make it part of their lives.”

“Age Cymru believes that the only way to tackle these barriers is to listen to the needs of older people and provide them with practical examples of applications of technology that they can relate to and understand."

She concludes:

“We need to do a much better job of communicating the benefits of using technology and the internet and support local providers to offer personal encouragement and training to older people to help address any concerns about safety and privacy they may have." 

For more information: Call Age Cymru Advice: 08000 223 444