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B.C. seniors are using technology more than ever, but they still need some help

Last Updated Apr 2, 2021 at 9:28 am PDT

(iStock Photo)
Summary

Many seniors in B.C. aren't using technology to its full advantage, BC Hydro report finds

About 60 per cent of seniors surveyed say they've learned to use video conferencing tools since start of pandemic

BC Hydro says a number of seniors haven't fully embraced technology due to lack of confidence

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Seniors are connecting more than ever online, but it seems many aren’t using technology to its full advantage.

The pandemic has driven more seniors online, with BC Hydro saying its new Digital Divide report has found they’ve become even more tech savvy as they are kept apart by COVID-19.

About 60 per cent of seniors surveyed say they’ve learned to use video conferencing tools, like FaceTime or Zoom, since the health crisis began. That increase is more than any other age group.

The reason? To stay in touch with loved ones, as opposed to many other British Columbians who’ve more fully embraced technology for work.

While there are more seniors using tech these days, Susie Rieder with BC Hydro explains the Digital Divide report finds that despite becoming more proficient using some technology, it appears many people in this age group are still missing out on other online benefits.

“They’re less likely to use online apps for things like groceries, appointments, prescriptions, and paying and managing bills, including their BC Hydro bills, than any other age group,” she said.

BC Hydro Report - Digital Divide

One reason for that could be a lack of confidence and needing support when it comes to using new online tools.

“Our data shows that they still lack confidence when it comes to setting up and using these technologies. And that’s holding them back from doing more online and taking advantage of those apps,” Rieder said.

“If you do have a senior in your life, just offering that support to them to help them to set things up” can help, she adds.

About six in 10 survey respondents in the over-55 age group say they typically need help when it comes to setting up a new device or using a new online application for the first time.