Internet and the Elderly: Enhancing Active Ageing
Keywords:Internet, the elderly, active ageing, cognitive stimulation, digital divide, digital literacy, ICT, healthy living
Global ageing has led European and international organizations to develop programs for active ageing, in order to reconstruct the role of the elderly in society. Active ageing includes social communication aspects which have been the subject of less research than other more pressing ones linked to physical and economic characteristics. This research is centered on these communication variables; it addresses the link between the elderly and Internet, and has two main objectives: to discover how useful Internet is for this age group, and to explain the potential this medium has for active ageing. To do so, a qualitative methodology is used based on three discussion groups, each made up of four or five people between the ages of 56 and 81, led by an expert moderator. The results of the qualitative content analysis of each discussion indicate that the Internet is a source of opportunities for the elderly, and this potential may be divided into four categories: Information, communication, transactions and administration, together with leisure and entertainment. This potential improves the quality of life for the elderly and contributes to their active ageing. However, to maximize this, e-inclusion programs and methodologies are needed to make the Internet user-friendlier for the elderly and provide them with training in digital skills..