Digital inclusion helps ensure that all individuals in a community have access to and understand how to use digital tools. One population that digital inclusion focuses on is older adults.
With community partners, Vantage is working towards making Ohio’s workforce a more digitally inclusive space for older adults.
Digital inclusion offers many benefits, and some of them might surprise you. For five advantages of digital inclusion for seniors, keep reading below.
1. It improves health
Access to digital healthcare tools makes it easier to manage health. With digital tools and the skills to use them, seniors can attend virtual doctor visits and utilize Telehealth applications.
Digital inclusion may encourage more seniors to keep up with their health visits. Access to virtual doctor visits provides a convenient option for seeing a doctor without the need to get a ride to a medical office, take time out of their day to drive to the doctor’s office, or worry about coming into contact with the coronavirus.
Mental health can also be improved through digital inclusion because many healthcare professionals offer online counseling services. While some seniors may not feel comfortable going into a mental health office, they may feel more inclined to speak to someone from the comfort of their home on a digital device.
2. Seniors are more likely to recognize scams with it
The more seniors are educated on how scammers work, the better they can protect themselves from becoming a victim.
Through digital inclusion, seniors not only gain access to digital devices but also to the knowledge of how to use them effectively. This includes spotting false information and scams that aim to steal a person’s identity or money.
Through digital inclusion, older populations who were once targeted by scammers can now be empowered to protect themselves and identify fraudulent activities.
3. It grows the workforce
Now more than ever, quality workers are needed across America. For years, businesses of all sizes have been moving towards more digital workplaces. By providing older adults with access to technological skills, we can better meet the needs of our current and future economies.
From video job interviews to day-to-day activities at most workplaces, older adults need to be comfortable with digital tools. Ways that we can develop the digital skills of older workers include:
- Expanding internet and computer access.
- Improving digital literacy with workplace digital technologies.
- Increasing opportunities for conducting job searches online while refining workplace competencies and skills.
Digital skills paired with experience and characteristics such as strong work ethic and dedication make many older job candidates strong assets to our nation’s workforce.
4. It strengthens the economy
We all know that businesses had to shift old ways of providing products and services in light of the coronavirus. For many, that meant relying on online options more than in the past.
With access to digital tools, older adults can be even more valuable consumers. Digital inclusion presents a whole market segment that would not be possible without seniors feeling comfortable navigating the internet. Teaching seniors how to purchase the things that they want and need online promotes a healthy, sustainable economy as it continues to adjust.
5. It helps seniors stay connected
As our world continues to become more connected, a huge part of that is communicating digitally. While seniors have been affected by the pandemic in many ways, they need to be able to connect with family, friends, businesses, and more through digital channels.
Digital inclusion introduces older adults to tools that make it easy to connect virtually. With a variety of options to communicate digitally, seniors can maintain relationships, reach out to resources, and share experiences, helping them feel connected to their community.
VANTAGE Aging provides job training for low-income Ohioans age 55 and older through the Senior Community Service Employment Program.
*The information in this article is intended solely to provide general information on matters of interest for the personal use of the reader, who accepts full responsibility for its use. This article should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional legal, medical, or other competent advisors.