Telehealth and telecare applications can often depend on the willingness of the users to use the internet and that is not to be taken for granted with older users. On the other hand it is indeed the older people who can most benefit from these technologies. Recent research in the UK shows encouraging results in this respect.
Ofcom, the UK telecoms regulator, has a duty to promote media literacy and to carry out research to measure the usage of all forms media. The results of the most recent surveys commissioned by Ofcom were published on Tuesday. Adults’ Media Use and Attitudes Report 2014 is an encouraging report showing that the use of the internet by over-65s has increased by over a quarter over the past 12 months.
“The proportion of people aged over 65 that are accessing the web reached 42% in 2013, up nine percentage points from 33% in 2012. One reason found for this is an increase in the use of tablet computers by older people aged 65-74 to go online, up from 5% in 2012 to 17% in 2013. This has helped to drive overall internet use up from 79% of all adults in 2012 to 83% in 2013” say Ofcom.
“However, older people spend significantly less time surfing the web than younger people (16-24 year olds), who on average spend more than a whole day (24 hours 12 minutes) each week online. This compares to an average 9 hours 12 minutes online per week among adults over 65.”
Although these results are for the UK, they probably broadly represent the trends in most developed countries.