We live in an increasingly digital world where many people are already benefiting from the Internet, digital TV, and mobile communications. The potential benefits are vast and pervasive for both the world at large and for individuals. The wide-ranging benefits include the following:
• Enhanced personal health and well-being
• Improved economic and life opportunities
• Development of new skills and capabilities
• Enhanced civic engagement and participation
• Social interaction and cohesiveness
Although there have been extensive efforts and financial investment to promote digital engagement in the UK over much of the past two decades the compelling benefits listed above are not currently experienced by everyone. The number of older people still not online remains high. In 2017, 4.8 million British people over 55 years old did not use the Internet – this group made up 91% of the 5.3 million British residents who did not use the Internet (Office for National Statistics 2017 Internet Access Report).
As an AHSN we are focused improving digital equity across all populations within Wessex.
Maureen's digital journey
To help celebrate the United Nations International Day of Older Persons
on 1 October 2021, which focussed on digital equity for older people a series of resources were developed including a blog
, a short video
and case study
about my mum and her iPad. Read about Maureen’s inspirational digital journey through the pandemic alongside her supportive daughter. These resources have been cited and showcased by Professor of Digital Inclusion and Participation Leela Damodaran at Loughborough University.
Actively listening to our communities
As part of the NIPP AHSN-Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) project, it was agreed to run a series of community engagement listening events to understand the views of adults (aged 65+) on the use of digital and remote monitoring for health and care.
Working collaboratively Wessex AHSN Healthy Ageing, Insight team, and NIHR ARC Wessex representatives:
1. Designed and implemented six face-to-face community listening events during April – August 2022
2. Listened to 48 adults aged 65+ (excluding numbers from sixth group) from a diverse range of community groups in Wessex
3. Garnered views of participants on the use of digital remote monitoring (to monitor health signs and symptoms and/or sensors to monitor patterns and behaviours of daily life), to support early identification of deterioration among adults aged 65+ living with frailty in the community.
From our community groups, we found five overarching themes on the use of digital remote monitoring for health and care: Value of face to face, Usability, Knowing me, Helpful and Limiting, Privacy. Our initial insights can be found here, alongside our summary of further recommendations and case study