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18.10.19

NHS supported resources launched to help older generations use digital

As we celebrate the twelfth annual Get Online Week, the largest digital inclusion campaign in the UK, the Good Things Foundation have published a new report outlining the positive impact that digital can have on older people.

The evaluation, completed by social change charity, Good Things Foundation, was supported by the NHS and forms part of the Widening Digital Participation programme.

Along with the evaluation comes a toolkit of resources aimed at supporting organisations across the UK to aid older patients by teaching them the benefits available through digital.

The generation gap in internet is going down and older people are using the online world to get more out of later life, however the gulf still exists between old and young.

55% of over 65s are lacking at least one essential digital skill and 53% of them don’t have the basic digital skills they need.

Nicola Gill, Widening Digital Participation Programme Director at NHS Digital said:

“Digital health technology can really help to reduce isolation and connect older people to the people, information and services they need to improve their mental and physical health. We have been learning lots about the barriers and challenges for older people with getting online and the things we can do to support them.”

Going online can provide an essential lifeline for older people going through a life change with care and support needs. Online tools such as the NHS App help older people to manage repeat prescriptions, view medical records and book and cancel appointments.

Testing research was carried out by NHS, Good Things Foundation and two Pathfinders in Thanet and Sunderland, to see how they could support older people with care and support needs.

Helen Milner, chief executive of Good Things Foundation said:

“We’re delighted to be publishing these findings today, and hope the recommendations we have developed mean organisation working across the health and care sectors, and who are supporting older people, can do more with digital.”

“Digital has the potential to have a huge impact on the lives of older people - helping them to be less isolated, to better manage their health, and to do more of the things they love. Through our Pathfinder projects, we’ve seen first-hand the huge impact digital can have, and we need to ensure everyone is supported to develop both the skills and motivation to make the most of it.”

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