Isolation spurs digital activity among older people in New Zealand

A recent survey conducted by Age Concern Otago found that social isolation amid the COVID-19 crisis urged older people in New Zealand to improve their digital skills. Out of the 4300 surveyed seniors, 43% expressed their wish to enhance their digital knowledge and skills, including online banking, social media, and using smartphones. “There is clearly a feeling amongst older people, after the isolating experience of lockdown, that they are missing out on the digital world. At one time, it was just about connecting with family on social media, but now everything is online – up to and including government departments,” noted Age Concern Otago Executive Officer Debbie George. The digital divide was further demonstrated between those with online access who were able to stay connected and buy basic items safely and those who could not and faced ‘an enormous challenge’.