Digital Inclusion for Older People

100% Digital Leeds are working with third sector partners across the city to improve digital inclusion and participation for older people. We are working together towards our ambition to make Leeds the most digitally inclusive city for everyone and our Age Friendly Leeds ambition to be the best city to grow old in.

Although the number of older people who are digitally connected continues to rise, across the country there are still around 5 million people over the age of 55 who are not online. And while factors such as income and levels of education play a part, age is one of the biggest indicators of who’s digitally excluded.

We’re working to bridge the divide, ensuring no one is left behind in this increasingly digital world. The approach we take is strengths based, collaborative, person centred, inclusive and holistic. We work with organisations who have established positive relationships and trust with older people with low or no digital skills.We tackle the barriers to digital inclusion with organisations who understand the needs of their service users. 

Developing the Neighbourhood Network Digital Inclusion Group

Covid-19 has brought long periods of lockdown and isolation for older people, and now more than ever supporting older people to overcome barriers to digital inclusion is vital. 100% Digital Leeds continues to work with organisations supporting older people to adapt their services to the pandemic: Developing virtual sessions of activities to combat social isolation, developing device lending schemes to support people who have access barriers with no connectivity or equipment, providing training, tools and resources to enable organisations to better support their service users in taking their first steps online and building skills and confidence across service users and staff teams. 

Throughout the pandemic 100% Digital Leeds have supported many of the Neighbourhood Networks in Leeds to develop and embed digital inclusion within their services.  In December 2020 we launched a Neighbourhood Network Digital Inclusion Group in partnership with Leeds Older People’s Forum. The group was designed to create a dedicated space to develop resources and share best practice and learning on the theme of digital inclusion across our Neighbourhood Networks in Leeds. The group is user-centred, and evolves according to need, embedding the citywide ambition of supporting older people to be digitally included, and developing a network of localised digital offers across our communities. 

The Digital Inclusion Group reflects the needs of Neighbourhood Networks and older people in light of the growing digitisation of the health and wellbeing agenda across the city. It supports organisations to develop the skills, confidence and tools they need to better support their service users to become digitally included. Group members share their experiences of embedding digital inclusion into their activities and developing a digital offer within their services. 

The group is building a citywide network of organisations supporting older people. It is providing solutions to digital inclusion barriers for older people and creating an inclusive, person-centred model of digital activity and participation. The group meets monthly and has developed a dedicated Slack channel of digital inclusion discussions, tools and resources for organisations supporting older people in Leeds. 

Our partner organisations within the group and network include:

  • Age UK Leeds
  • Time to Shine
  • BARCA
  • YourBackyard
  • Leeds Irish Health and Homes
  • Armley Helping Hands
  • AVSED
  • Belle Isle Elderly Action
  • Bramley Elderly Action
  • Caring Together in Woodhouse and Little London
  • Chapel Allerton Good Neighbours (RVS)
  • Community Action for Roundhay Elderly (RVS)
  • Cross Gates & District Good Neighbours Scheme
  • Halton Moor and Osmondthorpe Project for Elders (HOPE)
  • Holbeck Together
  • MAECare
  • Meanwood Elders Neighbourhood Action – RVS
  • MHA Communities Farsley
  • MHA Communities Horsforth
  • MHA Communities South Leeds
  • MHA Communities Rothwell and District
  • MHA Communities Pudsey
  • Neighbourhood Action in Farnley, New Farnley and Moor Top
  • OPAL
  • Richmond Hill Elderly Action RHEA
  • Seacroft Friends and Neighbours
  • Leeds Hearing and Sight Loss Service
  • Leeds LGBT Community Consortium
  • Leeds Libraries

To find out more or to join the network contact rachel.benn@leeds.gov.uk    or ali@opforum.org.uk

Overcoming the barrier of Motivation

Motivating people in later life to get online in the ways that they want can enable them to maintain their independence, social connections, access to financial information and other services. Being online can lead to positive health outcomes through increased social contacts, reduced loneliness, increased confidence, fulfilment and enjoyment.  

We’ve found the best approach to motivate people to get online for the first time is to use a ‘hook’. Rather than focusing on the thing that we think the person needs to do, what about focusing on what they want to do? What matters to that person? What would save them time, or give them enjoyment? Things that might surprise or delight them. Or things they might be missing because they can’t do them anymore – but could do them ‘virtually’. Make the activity about the person, link digital ‘hooks’ to their hobbies and interests. This might be making a video call with friends and family, using a Jigsaw app or listening to music on a Radio Station app. Find something that boosts the person’s mood and enables them to develop their digital skills and confidence by doing something online that they already enjoy in the non-digital world.

Tools and Resources to enable organisations and groups to support older people with digital inclusion

Digital Champions training for Older People

How to guide for digital inclusion for people living with Dementia

Videos to support Older People with digital: Cross Gates and District Good Neighbours YouTube Channel

Blog Posts: Digital Inclusion for Older People

Supporting care homes during the pandemic

Digital Inclusion within OPAL

Caring Together in Woodhouse and Little London

Cross Gates and District Good Neighbours: Digital Health Hub

Cross Gates and District Good Neighbours: Delivering our Digital Health Hub through lockdown

Supporting members to stay connected through COVID-19

IPads and Alexas in Leeds Recovery Hubs

Digital Champions within Leeds Breathe Easy Groups

Events

Digital Inclusion for Older People

Digital Inclusion for Older People – Lightning Talks
Supporting Older People to take their first steps online
Supporting Older People to manage their Health and Wellbeing Online
Developing Digital Champions within your Organisation
Delivering Virtual Sessions for Older People
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