Computers are every bit as useful, sometimes more so, for elderly people than the young. Yet many are not yet online, because of lack of help, or nervousness, or lack of funds.

Elderly people who are not on-line are starting to be quite disadvantaged. There are so many areas where the digital world is important, or even crucial – booking cheap air tickets would be a good example. Furthermore the internet can be a great pleasure for them: keeping in touch with grandchildren; or playing cards with an online friend in Brazil, not to mention shopping.

Also it is very good for the brains of those getting really quite old, as it keeps them mentally alert, just as exercise would for the body. If they are not able to get out much, they can have quite an active social life on the computer. If their eyesight is failing, they can read quite a
lot by expanding the size of print on the screen.

There are several million people over 65, who are not yet online. Not all are suitable of course, but huge numbers would be, and their quality of life would be immeasurably increased. Therefore the government should be more active in helping the elderly in going online if they wish to do so.

There are a variety of ways in which this could be done. But one obvious one is as follows. Most libraries now have computers. At non-peak times, lessons could be arranged on those computers for those pensioners who would wish to take advantage. There might even be an element of savings for government, in that many aspects of administration are cheaper if the customers are on-line. My suggestion could be cheap, as it would almost certainly be possible to get volunteers to do the training.

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