Masterton Library helps with seniors digital inclusion research

DIAA SteppingUP partner, Masterton Library, is helping to give voice to seniors in their community who are unable to leave their homes.  During May, the library’s home visitors, who usually deliver a selection of books to people who are unable to visit the library, ‘delivered’ a researcher from Victoria University to discuss their use of digital technologies.

The seniors digital inclusion research project (Understanding the impact of digital technologies on the lives of seniors) is a DIAA initiative, in partnership with Victoria University and with funding support from InternetNZ.  Our objective is to demonstrate a new approach to gathering data about groups who have been identified as digitally disadvantaged; seniors (people aged 65+) are frequently recognised as a group facing extra challenges in participating in the digital world.

A recent consultation by the Office for Seniors in the Ministry of Social Development revealed that technology-related issues and opportunities were in the top 10 most mentioned themes:

Benefits of using technology included:

  • Reducing social isolation
  • Helping to monitor health
  • Reducing barriers to mobility
  • Provision of in-home support

Specific challenges faced by seniors included:

  • Access to affordable digital technologies
  • Lack of technological capability
  • Risks of online scams
  • Lack of ongoing support

In April 2019, the Minister for Seniors, the Hon Tracey Martin, released a new draft strategy for seniors, Better Later Life: He Oranga Kaumatua. The draft strategy makes explicit reference to digital inclusion (p.40).