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Why is digital literacy important for elderly people in BAME Community?

Updated: Apr 26


Information and communication technologies (ICT) are considered to be an effective way of helping older adults improve independence results, however, such technologies are not yet widely utilised by the BAME (Black, Asian, and minority ethnic) segment of the population in the UK.


Studies have revealed that digital literateness can be a boon for elderly people, mainly for those who are staying on their own, living away from their families, living with mobility constraints, or seeking to live self-reliantly in old age. This digital literacy can not only make their life easy and comfortable but also can help them to remain in the mainstream of the social order. The study also witnessed that there is a deep desire among elder persons to keep them linked and associated with the new order of the world, governed by the internet and information technology.

Information and communication technology (ICT) has so much to offer elder people, starting from information concerning health and lifestyle to recipes, hobbies, and interests. They can get uncomplicated accessibility to news and weather forecasts at whatever time, along with phone contact specifics online.


Benefits

Using the Internet can defer cognitive deterioration

Cognitive deterioration is a natural and expected part of aging. An old person’s capacity to recollect and retain information, capability to communicate, and skills of problem-solving deteriorate bit by bit. Nevertheless, research has revealed that remaining psychologically stimulated can decelerate the progress of cognitive deterioration. The Internet provides old people numerous ways for staying mentally stimulated that include:

- Viewing videos online

- Playing online and wired games that include sudoku, chess, and scrabble

- Acquiring knowledge of new things

- Interconnecting with others through video or text messaging

Social Contact

Currently, the quickest growing segment on Facebook is old people aged over 65. Facebook, Instagram, Watsapp, Email, Skype, and other applications are all ultimate ways to avert loneliness and a sense of seclusion among older people of the BAME community. Even as the family lives far away, an elder family member can feel involved in their lives with regular exchanges of email, instant messaging, and video calls.


Helps in Preserving Mental Agility and Learning New Things

There are ample educational resources that are available online. Aged people can consider enrolling themselves for online courses, registering on a learning group, or joining a community committed to sharing knowledge on their preferred topic. Becoming conscious of the fact that there are numerous like-minded people accessible online who are passionate about similar hobbies.

Several distance learning courses are significant ways to keep the brain functioning effectively. Some scientists have even started to explore the advantages of some computer games that can help in stimulating the mind of older people. When it comes to digital literacy, it can be seen that elderly people are completely capable of becoming proficient in handling computers if they intend to. A little support from family, friends, groups, and network is all that is required to progress in this path.



Using the Internet can support physical health

The Internet assists people in staying healthy in many ways. First of all, accessing requisite information about health online is comparatively a lot easier. Aged people can search for information concerning health conditions, medicines, treatments, the diet they are eating, diverse ways to enhance their health and so much more.

E-Health is also becoming widespread in the UK. This service permits aged people to fix appointments and renew prescriptions online through the Internet, which is significantly more convenient and favourable than visiting the doctor’s clinic in person. Again, various devices can transmit important medical information (counting weight, blood pressure, oxygen levels, heart rates, diabetes results) directly to your doctor through the Internet, facilitating doctors to stay informed about the health condition of the patient.

Lastly, digital literacy can assist elderly people to maintain their physical well-being. Aged people can view workout or meditation videos online, acquire information on how to do specific exercises, monitor data on their fitness history, and work with trainers by the use of the Internet.


The Internet can assist in defending against mental illness

Regrettably, depression is extremely common among elderly people. It every so often occurs as aged people tend to become socially isolated and deserted, which prompts negative thoughts and emotions. The Internet can be effectively utilised to encourage social engagement in several ways. Aged people can engage in video chat sessions with their contacts, take part in online communities, join a social group, and many others. They can constantly engage in conversations with other people, which in turn, can assist them to stay mentally stimulated and stay away from mental illness.


Shopping

Standing in long queues at counters and carrying heavy shopping bags is not enjoyable particularly for elder people with reduced mobility. Therefore, a computer provides them the option to order groceries, essentials and other shopping items to be delivered to their doorstep.

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