Webinar: Digital Divide in the Elderly

OISS - OEI - Fundación ASTUR 17/03/2022
Webinar: Digital Divide in the Elderly

Thursday, March 17, 2022.

Uruguay time: 12:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Spain time: 2:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Link to the event:



One of the consequences of the pandemic in the case of older adults has been their forced isolation, stigmatizing them and without considering their socialization needs, generating situations of loneliness and forced isolation, which influence their living conditions and physical and mental health. Thus, the World Health Organization (WHO) calls on States to “ensure that older people are protected from COVID-19 without being isolated, stigmatized, left in a situation of greater vulnerability or unable to access basic provisions. and to social care”.

The demographic increase of this population group, changes in social interactions, in family, housing, and city models, migratory flows, etc. they are influencing that there are more older people who feel lonely. To this we must add the effects of the confinement and social distancing measures that the authorities have applied to stop the advance of the pandemic, which has especially affected the elderly, and which has greatly reduced their chances of relating, Hence, measures have had to be taken to face possible situations of loneliness.

The measures taken by Ibero-American governments to deal with possible situations of unwanted loneliness generated by social isolation are mostly linked to the promotion and creation of virtual and/or telephone spaces as safe places to maintain contact with the elderly.

In the same way, it is interesting to observe the incorporation of questions related to the use of the Internet and the management of technology, in national statistical surveys. This is the case of Argentina, in whose National Survey on Quality of Life of Older Adults, they consider that ICTs are conceived as promoters of social and cultural changes, and therefore incorporates the measurement of the technology management factor (ATM and Mobile ), and that of Spain, which from the National Institute of Statistics (INE) in the Survey on Equipment and Use of Information and Communication Technologies in Households, presents data on the use of the internet by the elderly population.

We need to generate social relationships in which significant encounters take place that turn from fear or laziness to relate, a space of trust and affinity, of learning and accompaniment in this stage of life. That is why we find in digital tools an opportunity to get excited, to verify that learning is generated constantly and throughout life and to socially include a group of people that we have been leaving behind on the path of digitalization of the communications, procedures, public procedures, product acquisition, etc. How are older people.

It is important that education works and develops in various directions, but if we focus on the person, we must “teach how to be “alone” in order to “not feel alone”, work on emotional intelligence, the approach to social relationships, skills of communicative mediation and conflict resolution, reduces the appearance of social, psychological and personal problems that come from the lack of knowing how to relate to each other and that in some cases cause “people to end up alone” or that arise from a tendency to feed thoughts of loneliness , rejection, misunderstanding, isolation.

We should not consider that internet consumption solves the digital divide in older adults, we should focus on digital skills and lifelong learning.

Public institutions have an important role in detecting situations of unwanted loneliness in older people, and also in promoting strategies to avoid this type of scenario.