Breaking the digital divide in the elderly

A senior and caregiver interacting with digital content on a SMART Board.

The use of digital technologies in Spanish homes is at an all-time high, with 90% of people between 16 and 74 years old using the internet daily, according to the National Institute of Statistics (INE). However, only 36% of those over 74 years old frequently use the internet, highlighting a significant digital divide among the elderly. As Spain faces an aging population, being the sixth oldest country in the EU, this divide presents challenges in an increasingly digitalized society, potentially isolating older individuals from the benefits of technology.

The pandemic accelerated digitalization, creating a turning point in technology use among those over 65. Rapid shifts to online activities left many elderly individuals disconnected, struggling to adapt to new digital environments. This digital exclusion has impacted their social interactions, communication with distant family and friends, and access to online services, further isolating them from society and reducing their autonomy.

Efforts to bridge this digital gap are crucial, with various programs aimed at integrating technology into the lives of the elderly. Initiatives like the collaboration between the Government of Murcia and SMART Technologies aim to equip day centers with interactive screens and digital content to enhance the social and emotional well-being of older adults. As older people in Spain are increasingly willing to engage in educational and social activities, continued collaboration among governments, businesses, NGOs, and society is essential to improve their quality of life and ensure inclusive, healthy aging.

Read the full story to explore how these efforts are transforming lives and promoting digital inclusion for the elderly: