Older people are missing out on the emotional benefits of technology to help tackle loneliness because they lack digital skills, according to research from BT.
The research shows that 41 per cent of over 70s don’t feel fully confident using their mobile beyond simple calls – despite almost three quarters (71 per cent) believing phones improve connections with their family and friends.
It also reveals over 80 per cent of over-65s want to be more proficient when it comes to the digital world, with 60 per cent wanting to learn a new skill. Nearly three quarters of older people (73 per cent) said using their mobile device to connect with important services like GPs has improved their independence.
BT has teamed up with 1966 World Cup Legend Sir Geoff Hurst to create a video encouraging older Brits to learn new digital skills to get the most out of their device(s).
Hurst said: “What BT are doing to get older people to connect with technology is fantastic. At my age, I meet a lot of people who are on their own and suffer with loneliness. I am fortunate that I’m in regular contact with my immediate family including a WhatsApp group called ‘Family Bants’. But there are people […] who have very little family around them or at all so it’s a great thing to connect them – through technology – so they can speak to their mates or people they have lost contact with years ago.”
BT has committed to reach 25 million people with help to make the most of life in the digital world by 2026 and has so far upskilled 14.7 million people.
Ricky, Customer Care Advisor at BT, added: “This scheme really resonated with me because my Nana and Grandad live in a rural area and don’t have people around them. Luckily, just before Covid I taught them how to make video calls, and upgraded my Grandad to a smartphone and taught him how to use it. But I’ve seen first-hand what difference that makes to them just to see each other face-to-face. So, I thought it would be nice to do that with someone else as well.”