Politics

WSIS and digital inclusion for all ages, By Fom Gyem


Digital ageism

Although people of different ages may find different uses for technology, senior citizens, like other demographics, can benefit from technological advancements. Consider how much good you can do by teaching seniors about technology.

The minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami recently brought positive light to Nigeria through his appointment by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) as the chairman of the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) forum 2022.

The WSIS Forum 2022 began in a virtual format on March 15, while the final week was held physically, with augmented remote participation, from May 30 to June 3 at the ITU Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, under the theme of “ICTs for Well-Being, Inclusion, and Resilience.”

The World Telecommunication and Information Society Day 2022 (WTISD-22) puts the spotlight on “Digital technologies for older persons and healthy aging”, also called digital ageism, reflecting a defining demographic trend of the 21st century.

Digital ageism plays a significant role in the perception that older adults are less mentally and physically competent, and incapable of adapting to new technologies that could otherwise improve their overall health and well-being.

According to ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao, “Digital technologies are a crucial factor for everyone’s healthy ageing”.

Technology has fueled a slew of societal, medical, and technological trends that have become ingrained in people’s daily lives. There is no doubt that technology improves and fills gaps in the healthcare delivery system.

A few technological innovations have been used to keep people physically active, enable independent living by detecting falls, smart home technology, early detection of diseases and management of disease conditions, maintenance of social connections by reducing social isolation, and continued participation in the workforce.

However, there are still barriers to older adults using technology that must be considered and addressed. Several older adults are skeptical and intimidated by technological change. This mindset is frequently accompanied by self-doubt and anxiety, which prevents them from experimenting with new technology.

The internet has negative consequences. Its vast amount of information empowers users. But, for older people who are just getting started with the internet, information overload can be frightening. When seniors gain access to the internet, going online becomes a part of their daily routine.

About 75 per cent of older adults with internet access say they use it daily. The advancement of new technologies will benefit ageing and longevity by allowing people of all ages to live healthier, more fulfilling lives.

A few technological innovations have been used to keep people physically active, enable independent living by detecting falls, smart home technology, early detection of diseases and management of disease conditions, maintenance of social connections by reducing social isolation, and continued participation in the workforce.

The coronavirus pandemic exemplifies how quickly seniors learned the ins and outs of new technologies to stay connected with loved ones by using FaceTime, hosting meetings on Zoom, and participating in telemedicine calls with physicians.

It is noteworthy that with a little guidance and practice, older persons will be able to master any technology they desire.

Technology has the enormous potential to improve people’s lives. Technology helps to save money and time while also allowing easy connect with loved ones to revisit the past.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also demonstrated that older adults require a comfortable relationship with technology, as evidenced by the difficulty many have had in registering for vaccines online and the way technology has helped mitigate loneliness during a difficult time.

The development of home-based technologies to make life easier, safer, and more interesting for older adults is a major focus for psychologists.

So many IT firms are at the forefront of this research, bringing together faculty and students from community health, psychology, engineering, architecture, public health, and other fields to design and research technologies for successful ageing.

Technology has the enormous potential to improve people’s lives. Technology helps to save money and time while also allowing easy connect with loved ones to revisit the past.

Although people of different ages may find different uses for technology, senior citizens, like other demographics, can benefit from technological advancements. Consider how much good you can do by teaching seniors about technology.

The advantages extend beyond just lessons to demonstrating ove for them. And the seniors will appreciate the efforts to teach them about technology.

Fom Gyem wrote from Abuja.


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