Many older people miss web benefits

20 September 2013 09:39

Older people who use the internet can take advantage of numerous travel offers, including flights, accommodation and insurance

Older people who use the internet can take advantage of numerous travel offers, including flights, accommodation and insurance

A large number of older people in England are missing out on the benefits of using the internet, it is claimed.

Age UK warns that a "concerning" north/south divide is emerging across the country, with more than double the number of those aged over 65 using online services in Surrey compared to Tyne and Wear.

It found only four regions where the percentage of old people hooked up to the web outnumbered those who do not use the internet.

Those without access to online services are unable to take advantage of the many web-based offers out there, including considerable discounts when buying things like seniors travel insurance over the internet.

David Mortimer, of Age UK, described it as "concerning" that in some parts of the country more than twice as many older people are able to access the benefits of being online than in other areas.

He wants the Government, local authorities and businesses to provide greater assistance for people over the age of 65 when it comes to using the internet.

The study found older individuals with lower wealth, those living alone and those in relatively worse health are least likely to access online services.

Those in Tyne and Wear are least likely to have embraced the digital age, with just 28% in the region using the internet.

In comparison, 63% of their counterparts in Surrey - one of the four counties where a greater number of older people are online than offline - use the web. The other three areas are Suffolk, Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire.

"More services from the private and public sectors are moving online in a bid to make significant cost savings," added Mr Mortimer.

"However, if they want older people to use these services, they need to help them get online in the first place with tailored and ongoing support."

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