Two-thirds of older citizens “have never used a computer”

In a survey of 82 to 94-year-olds, SPF Connect, a charity-funded project to bring senior citizens online, discovered that a staggering 66 per cent of their clients had never touched a computer before.

However, with the aid of the project’s specially developed software, more and more older people are finding the confidence to join the digitally enabled population. The team also found that:

  • 90 per cent of people surveyed felt the computer provided easier access to information
  • 84 per cent felt that SPF Connect PCs allowed them to connect with others more often
  • 92 per cent felt more positive in themselves after using the SPF Connect PCs
  • 100 per cent would recommend SPF Connect PCs to people of a similar age

IT support and services company Natpoint are implementing the SPF Connect Project which provides a free, easy-to-use computer with touch screen and large, high-visibility keyboard. There is training, online support and easy access to a range of entertainment, music and e-books to help customers get the most out of the systems.

But even though the project was all about making it easier for senior citizens to get online, the team was still surprised by the number of clients for whom this was their first encounter with a computer.

Michael Glass, managing director of Natpoint, said: “The users who took part in the survey have an average age of 88 years old and although 88 per cent of the users initially thought it was too late for them to learn how to use a computer we let them know it’s never too late.”

The PCs use “Touch and Connect” software developed by SeeYouLink Inc to replace the usual Windows user interface with a simpler and more intuitive environment, specially designed for vision-impaired users. Due to being more controlled, the environment minimises the chances of users getting lost and losing confidence.

In fact, Natpoint’s research shows that the use of Touch and Connect has dramatically increased the speed at which users increase their familiarity with the computer. Typically, a customer will send an email after their first hour but, by the following week, have graduated to making video calls, making it easier to keep up with friends and family across the globe.

The SPF Connect project through Natpoint provides internet connectivity if necessary, installation, training and support for the users throughout the UK free of charge until the end of May 2020.