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Almost 80 per cent of lone pensioners have no internet access

Age Action Ireland said it has concerns that older people may become increasingly isolated and excluded from certain services as they continue to move online.

Image: John Stillwell/PA Wire

JUST ONE IN five lone pensioners have an internet connection in their homes according to figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

The Census 2011 results indicate almost six out of ten homes where the head of the household was aged 65 years and over did not have any internet access. The figure rose to 79 per cent in cases where the person lived alone.

A spokesperson for Age Action Ireland told TheJournal.ie it was “worrying” that there are so many older people with no access to the internet and it was not because of a lack of interest in getting online.

“We have a long waiting list for our computer course so there is definitely an interest out there in getting involved in technology”, he said. ”We are concerned about this because there are more and more services moving online and that means older people are excluded from these services.”

The spokesperson said there are barriers for older people to upskill in IT as pensioners on lower incomes “would struggle to afford to buy a computer or pay for broadband services”.

“As well as that, most people don’t know where to go to get information or training because this is totally new to them,” he said.

Transport

Figures showed car ownership was also relatively low in homes where the head of the household was 65 or over. One in three of these households in urban areas had no car while in rural areas the figure was just under one in five.

Some 52 per cent of lone pensioner households in urban areas and 40 per cent in rural areas did not own or have use of a car last year.

Age Action Ireland said it was “very concerned” about older people living in rural areas who are isolated from the community.

“We’ve been advocating the importance of rural public transport because so many older people don’t have access to a car,” the spokesperson said.

“The state doesn’t take it seriously enough when it is essential for older people and anyone who has reduced mobility, especially now when Garda stations and post offices in those areas are closing.”

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