Millions of over 55s not using internet risk being locked out of essential services and online benefits.

A new report from the Centre for Ageing Better finds that large numbers of people are at risk of being left on the wrong side of the digital divide as more services and information move online and calls for a fundamental re-think of digital inclusion policy and practice for people in later life.

The Centre for Ageing Better’s report, ‘The digital age: new approaches to supporting people in later life get online‘, identifies an urgent need for new approaches to supporting people in later life to get online. It urges government, companies and organisations to ensure that the most vulnerable people don’t get locked out of essential services and benefits.

While more older people are accessing the internet than ever before, 4.8 million people over the age of 55 are not online – mostly those with the lowest levels of wealth, health and education.

The research carried out by Ageing Better and digital charity Good Things Foundation shows that while some people are happy and able to access services offline or through family and friends, others will increasingly struggle to access essential services and miss out on online help and information as society becomes ‘digital-by-default’.

Ageing Better has outlined recommendations for government, providers and funders to develop a wider range of outreach strategies, and deliver more person-centred, community-based and open-ended support – while recognising that some people will never go online and should not miss out on essential services or information as a result.

On Wednesday, 13 June the Centre for Ageing Better hosting an event, Mind the Digital Gap, to discuss how society should respond to the issue of digital exclusion in later life, now and in the future. Get in touch to sign up to the event.

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