Older people who are not tech savvy ‘risk being left behind’ in virus outbreak

Older people who are not internet-savvy risk being left behind as vital services increasingly turn digital amid the coronavirus outbreak.

With strict limits on movement and social contact, charities fear the elderly may be shut out if they cannot connect with loved ones or use services online.

While the proportion of older people online has risen in the last decade, people aged 65 and over are significantly less likely to use the internet.

Some 4.8 million people in the UK have never used the internet, of whom 80% are over 65, the Centre for Ageing Better said.

Patrick Vernon, associate director for connected communities at the centre, said: “The internet has become increasingly important to our lives in recent years – keeping us connected to people, services and information – and the coronavirus epidemic is set to dramatically accelerate this trend.

“As many of us increasingly connect to our colleagues, friends, and family online rather than face to face, there is a risk that those who aren’t internet-savvy are left behind.

“Our research has highlighted the importance of developing confidence in using the internet and offering personal, community-based support to develop these skills.

“In times like this, that support is more needed than ever.”