While the digital divide is certainly not a new phenomenon among the elderly population, the COVID-19 pandemic made it clear that immediate action needs to be taken to address it. It is clear that presently, there is the need to ensure that digital solutions are more accessible to older populations.
In 2019 about 9.09% of the world population was aged 65 or older, and this number is growing every year (https://data.worldbank.org). ICT 4 The Elderly commenced in 2018 with the aim to assist in supporting the elderly to cope in the digital era, by building a training manual with support through pilot training processes, to enhance their ICT skills.
Encouraging the use of digital solutions among elderly cohorts is necessary, and through this project several stakeholders are taking the necessary measures to ensure the elderly population is aware of such resources. Online socializing events specialised to cater for older individuals allow for social contact and inclusion. This introduction to online exercise programs is pitched towards older individuals who wish to improve their e-skills, and will offer live workshops experience, and homework routines.
The pilot training will commence in Malta on the 10th of June 2021. While this pilot training is unlikely to reach all older individuals, the dissemination process of the project and also future multiplier events will ensure further dissemination of the training and thus, increase the reach.
In Malta, the recruitment of the six ambassadors that will be taking part in the pilot training has been supported by the local Government, as well as by the private sector through the Grandparents Malta Foundation.