#ManifiestoEldersDigitals: an Internet Day 2022 designed by and for the elderly

On May 17 we celebrate the Internet Day 2022, (#internetday), an initiative that has been carried out since 2005 in Spain promoted by the Association of Internet Users, to make known everything that technology offers us and promote greater accessibility to the network for all citizens.

Since 2006, the United Nations Organization also set the World Information Society Day for that day, and each year chooses a theme to celebrate this event, being 2022: «Internet and digital technologies for the elderly and healthy aging».

As established by the UN, Internet access is a fundamental right as is Freedom of expression, so it must be guaranteed for education, health care and work. Access should also be promoted in more vulnerable areas, such as rural areas, and in an equitable manner, without leaving behind people with functional diversity or the elderly. And, to train and educate citizens in the proper use of technology so that, in this way, they take advantage of all the benefits it brings to society.

Still, almost twenty years later, we must be aware of the digital, social and generational gap in society, especially in the most vulnerable areas and populations, so there is still a lot of work to be done. This work is everyone’s job, Institutions, Administrations, educational centers and families.

We must and we have, therefore, to guarantee the use of the Internet to the elderly in all the procedures and activities of their day to day. In addition to doing in an easy, usable and accessible way, implementing all the necessary technologies for those who have a disability, whether physical or cognitive. This will only be possible if we keep in mind that the person must always be at the center of our thoughts when designing projects, in this way we will be able to “humanize technology«, and, with it, empathize with the needs of each group.

From the organization of #internetday (to which Telefónica has been supporting in all its editions since it began to be held in Spain in 2005) they have worked on how to help and how to promote the objectives of this year’s motto and, to this end, they have drawn up a manifesto with ten key measures. It’s the #ManifiestoMayoresDigitals.

Senior Digital Manifesto

DECALOGUE OF MEASURES

1) Promote social attitudes that are based on full respect for their dignity, freedom, interests, preferences and the right that protects them to have effective participation and social life so that older people and, among them, people with disabilities elderly are contextualized in the Digital Society, so that they can occupy the role that corresponds to them, under equal conditions.

2) Respect and enforce what has already been approved both in the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, as well as in Spanish and European Union legislation regarding the obligations of accessibility and the absence of barriers in devices, applications and services that make up digital technologies.

3) Promote, encourage and defend that technological devices, products, applications and services are accessible to all people, with special attention to the Internet, so that it maintains its universal design and is accessible to any type of older person and provides them with the same facilities than the rest of the population.

4) Develop initiatives and public aid plans to provide older people with the necessary knowledge and skills so that they can independently use digital tools: devices, applications and services and thus be able to guarantee an equal user experience. Support and promote activities in Digital Competence centers so that the elderly acquire autonomy in all facets of digital reality.

5) Promote the safe use of digital technologies for older people by equipping them with the necessary knowledge and skills, with projects and specific awareness campaigns on cybersecurity, which increase the level of protection against Internet threats and help them to prevent possible cyber incidents.

6) Invest in analysis, studies and research to anticipate and adequately respond to the demands and needs of older people in the digital society, providing them with realistic financing through specific aid plans.

7) Promote the importance of talent and senior experience to give them a place in society, seeking formulas, through digital technologies, so that older people can continue to contribute talent and experience.

8) Avoid discrimination and algorithmic bias for reasons of age or disability in new applications of Artificial Intelligence. Encourage social algorithms with ethical, responsible and inclusion criteria that serve as a framework for orientation and prescription so that Artificial Intelligence has a social aspect.

9) Pay special attention to the new legislative reforms regarding digital technologies, supporting them and providing them with adequate resources that make them viable and effective for the group of older people.

10) Promote specific help and training plans to encourage and facilitate the use of technologies by older people: that public policies, strategies, action plans, laws and non discriminatory regulations be approved and applied that promote and guarantee the full enjoy all their fundamental rights and freedoms, allowing the entire society to connect.

Technologies that help reduce the digital divide in the elderly

But apart from the Manifesto, today we also want to share some of the most innovative technologies that are being developed to help the elderly population in different areas, such as communication with family and friends, health care, managing their expenses, improving their mobility, etc.

  • digital devices: Without a doubt, the most important thing is that they have a simple interface, easy to use and with a suitable keyboard for your vision. We recommend the Doro 7030 mobile phone or Apollo SPC, both specially designed for the elderly. As for tablets, the most recommended is the Fire HD 10since it is robust, with a wide frame to be able to grip it well and good battery life.
  • GPS locator: especially for people with Alzheimer’s, dementia or orientation problems. In addition to the possibility of quickly locating the person, it allows us to communicate with them. We have the Communicator + Mobile SOS Locator, GPS Person Locator or the model Weenect Silver.
  • Digital pillbox + app: Ellie: It is an organizer pill box for the medication of the elderly that, when connected to a mobile phone, sends reminders, tracks progress with sensors and organizes pills in sensors.
  • object locators: they are small devices that are placed inside what you do not want to lose and that sound when activated from the mobile app. Some examples are tile either AirTag.
  • Anti scald faucet, Comely: it is an intelligent shower head that offers two water intensities and indicates the temperature (with digits and colors) on the head itself: blue if it is below 29ºC, green if it is between 30º and 39ºC and red if it is higher of 40.
  • Gaming and Virtual Reality: This is what we call immersive exergaming, which is the use of video games that involve physical interaction or exercise, in people with pathologies associated with aging such as Parkinson’s disease.

In this sense, if the design of a technology adapted to the elderly or people with disabilities is important, so is the promotion of programs and activities for the literacy of this generation in digital skills for them to be able. For example, to communicate through applications such as WhatsApp with their families or friends, to be able to make video calls, shop online or know how to check their bank details over the internet. To this end, ‘Digital Rebirth’ has been launched, Telefónica’s program to digitally empower older people, bring technology closer to their daily lives and make them digitally autonomous.

¡Let’s help older people to stay connected so they don’t ‘disconnect’ from the world!