Jack Quann
Jack Quann

11.01 6 Dec 2020


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A charity for older people says more and more people it helps are 'jumping that digital divide'.

CEO of Alone, Sean Moynihan, has described COVID-19 as "an ageist virus", given its impact on the older community in particular.

But he told Alive and Kicking that more older people are embracing new technologies.

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It comes as technology company Vodafone is encouraging customers to trade-in their old mobile phone devices, and donate a portion of the trade-in credit.

The donations will go towards purchasing new mobile phones for Alone, as part of the Gift of Connection Appeal.

Mr Moynihan explained: "Vodafone will match that donation and we will use that to distribute and give new smartphones to older people, to get older people connected into the digital world".

He said older people are always willing to try new things.

"We're now working with HSE digital transformation... We're empowering older people to manage their social connections and their health connections in their own home.

"Whether people are 65 or 95, they want to learn, they want to get involved."

"This is the future and this year we have seen a huge transformation and uptake of older people jumping that digital divide."

He added that the "future of healthcare" is monitoring and treating people in their own homes through technology.

'Very active older people' looking for help

Mr Moynihan also said he is hopeful everyone has lessons to take from the pandemic.

"I think this has been a very difficult year for young and old - but for older people, because of COVID being an ageist virus, ultimely the amount of people reaching out to us, I think we've had close to 40,000 calls since the start of COVID."

He said a "huge amount of people" are very anxious, struggling to stay connected and struggling with isolation.

"This year an awful lot of very active older people had to withdraw from volunteering, from community, from business because of health issues and because of COVID.

"They've also needed support in a way, possibly, they never did before".

He said he is hopeful that the pandemic has made people realise the importance of keeping in touch.

"Hopefully from this we all have realised how much we do need to stay connected, how much we do and are dependent on other people in our families, communities and areas".

"And that ultimately that isolation, loneliness and mental health are real challenges for all of us."

He added that he is hopeful we can "build back better" relations afterwards.

More older people 'jumping the digital divide', charity says

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Main image by Sabine van Erp from Pixabay 

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Alive And Kicking Alone Covid-19 Digital Divide Gift Of Connection Appeal Isolation New Technologies Seán Moynihan Vodafone

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