According to a survey carried out by HelpAge, around 47% of senior citizens learned how to use digital devices on their own, some were taught by their sons (25%) and daughters (18%). 60 % of seniors used smartphones
In this fast-growing technology driven world, the elderly people are finding themselves out of place as they fail to understand and use the latest Apps and gadgets. This was revealed in a survey carried out by an NGO HelpAge India before lockdown. As it became inevitable for people to depend on technology for communication during lockdown, the survey was carried out to comprehend the predicament of aged people who were incompatible with Apps. About 1,580 elderly people across the eight states - Delhi, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, West Bengal, Uttarakhand and Telangana - took part in the survey. In the survey 400 elderly people belonged to Telangana and out of whom 60 per cent were found to be digital illiterate. One of the major reasons was the youngsters did not spare enough time to guide them.
"In this fast growing technology, elders are often left behind as they are unable to cope up with the advanced technology driven Apps and gadgets in our day-to-day life. In these pandemic times, most of the elders who live alone have been forced to depend on digital gadgets but due to lack of knowledge they were at a mercy of others for support," said Shyam Kumar, advocacy officer, HelpAge India.
"In the past, my son used to teach me how to use video streaming, instant messaging, online shopping but I did not felt the need for it, as I'm a housewife. But this all-new technology has become an essential need in our daily life. After a few hits and misses, it took a month to send voice messages and was able to reconnect with lost friends living across the globe,' said N Sandhya, 66, a resident of Chintal
"Nowadays, being updated with the fast-changing technology has become very important. I never depended on digital technology, but since I started living alone with my wife, it has become important. My elder daughter took the initiative to teach me hence, I am able to connect with others and I don't have to visit banks and government offices after learning online payments,' 'said Ratan Mukherjee, 65, a pharma employee.
"I was facing a lot of problems due to my digital illiteracy. The younger family members used to avoid me as I would pester them to teach latest applications as I stay alone. I learned it from my friends but it took little time, said Shankar,70, a retired accountant from Sainikpuri. "In spite of being in the teaching profession for the past 40 years, I always thought that digital gadgets and mobile Apps is a waste of time. But the current pandemic taught me the importance of digital literacy so that we could connect with near and dear ones and can perform various works in our daily life. I was able to learn to use the apps with the help of neighbors. I learnt the basic apps within ten days," said Bhairaiah, 80, a resident of Jeedimetla village. "Being an old woman of 85, living alone, as my children stay aboard, my life had become miserable. But learning the basic apps and gadgets from my neighbours proved to be a great boon in this pandemic situation," said Laxmi Rain, a resident of IDA Jeedimetla.
• NGO HelpAge India conducts survey on digital literacy among the elderly • 400 senior citizens from Telangana took part in the survey • It was found that the younger family members didn't take initiative to teach the older • During lockdown it became imperative to know how to use mobile apps and gadgets • Digital literate elderly people living alone were able to perform works like online payments.