Elderly people are increasingly getting marginalised due to digital illiteracy, a new survey has revealed. According to the Agewell Foundation Survey, approximately 85.8 per cent respondents were found to be digitally and computer illiterate, out of which 76.5 per cent were elderly men and 95 per cent were elderly women. "74.9 per cent digitally illiterate respondents said that lack of computer skills and digital illiteracy is affecting their life in old age adversely," the survey said.
The Foundation observed that contrary to the younger generation which is well-versed with modern IT and communication gadgets, the elderly find themselves at sea while using computers, laptops, tablets and smart phones. To assess the impact of the "ever-widening generation gap" on the lives of older persons, the foundation interviewed over 5000 old people in Delhi-NCR during August-September 2017.
Approximately 51 per cent respondents claimed that there were hardly any facilities where they could learn computer applications and get digital training. Another 44.6 per cent claimed that they have no idea about digital literacy. "Just 4.5 per cent admitted that they knew about some facilities where they can get digital training," the survey noted. A whopping 85 per cent rued lack of communication with younger members of their families, due to their "more demanding lifestyle and inability of older family members to understand the modern digital language of communication".
"82.4 per cent digitally illiterate respondents claimed that they consider themselves as marginalized and under- privileged lot of society in new settings, which is governed by modern IT and internet," the survey said. Highlighting the need for digital literacy among the elderly, the survey said it would help the population in getting government benefits on financial inclusion schemes, chatting with friends and relatives, internet banking, online payment of utility bills, getting gainful engagement, online entertainment, among others.
The study also pointed out that digitally illiterate older persons were keen to learn soft skills, despite their age. "69.8 per cent elderly have shown their interest in digital financial literacy program."