This year’s International Day of Older Persons theme couldn’t be more relevant: Digital equity for all ages.
COVID-19 has taught us all the importance of maintaining connection when in lockdown. For many, we can tap into a FaceTime call or join a Friday night quiz with friends. But for elders, this opportunity for connection can be impossible. And as the world becomes more digital, the important messages to keep us safe are becoming less accessible, creating a lack of equity in society.
Since launching Belong Club in lockdown, we have depended on digital tools to access the loneliest audience of all, the elderly. But, unfortunately, we have been learning first-hand how theory doesn’t match up to reality. From having no hardware to having never used a computer, the lack of access prevents technological progress as a society. As a result, elders are frustrated. They deserve a seat at the virtual table.
This is why CCNB is focused on increasing accessibility through improving digital literacy. With the support of our 200 plus strong volunteer team and a subgroup of digital literacy mentors, we have been able to help our community of elders to get online. This has been in the form of Zoom calls with relatives on the other side of the country to joining workshops facilitated by Belong Club. If we can succeed, we won’t only lower rates of loneliness and isolation; we will build capacity, independence and opportunity.
We still have a long way to go, but we have a fire in our bellies, and a culture focused on increasing accessibility. If anyone is interested in getting involved in our community initiatives to improve digital literacy, we invite you to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.