Tuesday 21 November 2017

Silver surfers swell ranks

Google Silver Surfer Awards with Age Action. Picture Conor McCabe Photography
Google Silver Surfer Awards with Age Action. Picture Conor McCabe Photography

They are known as "silver surfers" - older people who use the internet - and their ranks are increasing.

The percentage of over-65s in Ireland taking to the worldwide web rose from 8.3pc in 2002 to 24.1pc in 2010.

Katherine Edwards led a team from the Department of Psychiatry in the Mater Hospital, Dublin to look at internet use among 1,606 older people.

Some groups have particularly higher usage - those with a better education, living with a partner, males and urban dwellers. Of those who regarded their health as good, 21pc had internet access, versus 7.1pc with poor health.

The web could be used more to reach elderly people to improve their health and social well-being.

These could be particularly useful in populations with limited access to transport and mobility, the study in the Irish Medical Journal reported.

Age Action Ireland offers free courses on the internet to people in Dublin, Cork and Galway. Those outside of these areas could avail of free travel to attend.

The programme assists older people to learn basic IT, internet and email skills. It said the Getting Started Computer Training programme helps older people to bridge the digital divide, to beat exclusion and isolation and to increase independence and equality.

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