The tech-savvy nature of elderly citizens across the globe

The tech-savvy nature of elderly citizens across the globe

The older generation are certainly getting more tech-savvy, with many grandparents now having the knowledge to use Skype, carry around smartphones and are active on Facebook. Do these attitudes change from one country to the next though? Stair lift manufacturer Acorn Stairlifts attempts to find out…

How tech-savvy are the elderly with banking?

So many people have been overjoyed with technological advancements which assist them with banking and to make quick payments when they are visiting retail stores and restaurants. With one simple tap of the debit card, something can be paid for instantaneously.

Barclaycard has said that 20% of contactless users in the UK are ages 65 and over. This suggests that they are welcoming the new system. More people are jumping on board too, 55% of over 65s have used the tap to pay service, up 3% from 2016. Saga supported this research too, saying that one in five over 50s use their contactless cards up to three times per week.

How tech-savvy are the elderly with the internet?

Can you imagine life today if you didn’t have the internet? You probably use it to read the latest news, check the weather forecast or use it hourly at work. But, is the older generation as reliant on the World Wide Web?

When polled in a survey carried out during 2017, 41% of adults in the UK aged 75 and over said they had used the internet recently. This illustrates a 20% increase since 2011, showing how widespread the internet has become over the past seven years.

What about elderly citizens across the US? Well, figures show that 64% of over 65s were internet users in 2016. There was also a 46.4% growth reported in US internet users over the age of 55 from 2014 to 2017, with around half of American seniors say that they now have high-speed internet at home. This is a 4% increase on 2013.

The internet isn’t favoured by everybody yet mind. Only 44% of those aged 80 and upwards said that they used the internet and just 28% said that they had a home broadband service.

As of January 2017, just 29.6% of mobile internet users across Germany were aged 50 and above. In France, meanwhile, 48% of people aged over 70 were internet users in 2016. Compare this to the 100% of internet users who were aged 12-17 and it’s clear to see the generation gap when it comes to getting online. In Belgium, 35% of the population that were aged between 65 and 74 admitted that they had never used the internet at all.

How about the situation in Canada, where it was recently found that there are now more over 65s based there than under 14s? In 2019, experts forecast that 53.4% of over 65s will be internet users. And, in the technological hub of Japan, 44.3% of over 80s who accessed the internet said that they did so at least once a day, along with 48% of those aged 70-79.

How tech-savvy are the elderly with smartphones & tablets?

Having so much access to the internet has been largely made possible by the increased use of smartphones and tablet computers. Many of us have these tiny touchscreen devices at hand which can answer to our queries, connect us with friends and provide us with useful information at the tap of our fingers. Has the older generation realised the potential of these devices?

In 2016, 45% of over 55s across the UK were using a smartphone. This seems like quite a significant figure, however, when you compare it to the fact that 97% of under 25s used a smartphone, it’s clear to see how age affects behaviour.

Meanwhile across the US, 32% of citizens aged over 65 and 20% aged over 80 said that they owned a tablet computer. On top of this, 19% said that they owned an e-reader. It’s important that older people reach out for help and direction in using a new device, should they need it. Around three-quarters of Americans over 65 said that the statement, ‘When I get a new electronic device, I usually need someone else to set it up or show me how to use it,’ describes them very, or somewhat well. Also, only 26% of older internet users said that they felt very confident.

This is not to say that elderly citizens aren’t aware of the technological advancements which are happening all the time, and that they aren’t willing to learn how to use new devices. In fact, 58% of adults aged 65 and over said that technology has had a mostly positive impact on society. Of course, it can depend on annual income and disposable income as to whether an elderly person owns a smart device — 81% of older Americans who earned over $75,000 said that they owned a smartphone while only 27% of those who earned less than $30,000 owned one.

How tech-savvy are the elderly with staying connected?

The internet will be used by so much of the world’s younger generation today in order to remain ‘connected’ with those across the globe. Through Twitter and Facebook, people can read instantaneous news from their local area and worldwide. And, with downloadable apps, smartphone users can receive notifications of the latest headlines. Is the older generation accessing news in the same way?

Across the UK, 21% of over 50s have stated that they use social networks on a daily basis to get their news. This could mean logging onto Facebook to see what the latest status’ are or checking what’s trending on Twitter. In the US, this number rose to 26% with 70% of older Facebook users saying that they log in to the site daily. In fact, there has been a reported change in the demographics of Facebook users — with the number of 12-17-year-olds who use the site declining by 9.9% in 2017.

What about the attitudes of elderly citizens throughout Europe? In Germany, only 9% of those over 50 said that they get their daily news from social networks and 34% said that they get their daily news from the internet. In France and Italy, 13% of the mature generation stated that they went to social media sites for their news.

These figures were also quite high across Canada. In fact, 25% of over 50s said that they head over to social networking sites to find out the latest headlines today.

It’s clear then that the technological habits of the older generation certainly alter from one country to the next. Eventually, it’s likely that the majority of the older population will understand the benefits of technology and come to accept it as a way of life. In the meantime, younger people should be educating their elders on how to use the devices and how it could enhance their daily activities.


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