The next article, written by Rachelle Patille, Simon Fraser University; Atiya Mahmood, Simon Fraser University, and Priscilla Ruth Chyrva, Simon Fraser University initially appeared on the Conversation and is printed right here with permission.
Dwelling in a know-how dependent world means all of us wish to keep linked, no matter age. And the COVID-19 pandemic was a significant catalyst for growing our technological dependence.
It grew to become regular to do weekly on-line grocery outlets, attend medical doctors’ appointments or work by way of Zoom and FaceTime household and pals. The fact is nevertheless, that not everyone seems to be lucky sufficient to have entry to the technological gadgets or abilities to function in our on-line world — among the most impacted by this are older adults.
This magnified the pandemic for them, particularly when it comes to isolation. Older adults had been left with out the primary useful resource that has been holding many people linked — know-how.
However that’s not all of the pandemic has laid naked for older adults. Numerous them are additionally both experiencing, or are weak to homelessness. Older adults have develop into one of many teams most at-risk for housing insecurities through the pandemic. And one of many largest limitations to housing, is low socioeconomic standing.
Our technological dependence has created new challenges for older adults, and helped solidify pre-existing ones, like navigating on-line platforms to safe housing. Older adults face housing limitations as a result of lack of technological assets and schooling on easy methods to use them; there’s a clear have to empower them to be digital residents.
Discovering housing in an internet-dependent world
Total, older adults are sometimes excluded from utilizing the web as a result of they lack gadgets and connectivity, or are inexperienced in utilizing it. So on the subject of discovering housing, they’re typically left behind.
A decade in the past, it was doable to stroll by way of the streets, sift by way of newspapers, discover boards and uncover flats for hire, however that is more and more unusual. The platforms themselves — like Kijiji, PadMapper and Fb Market — are usually not made with older adults in thoughts; that means the power to navigate and entry these assets makes it much more troublesome for them to search out housing. On high of getting to go looking by way of unfamiliar platforms, they’re additionally confronted with discovering an residence on a restricted price range.
Think about you don’t know housing web sites exist. Or know easy methods to navigate on-line adverts. Or have a tool to entry the web. You’re put at a severe drawback on the subject of accessing housing.
In North America “giant parts of the rental housing market have moved on-line … extra renters in urbanized areas discovered their present houses by way of a web site like Craigslist than by way of every other info channel.” That means the vast majority of rental properties are accessible by way of on-line platforms. Older adults who are usually not a part of this digital world have restricted alternatives to search out housing.
We don’t wish to recommend that discovering an residence is unattainable however, if you’re an older grownup missing technological assets and digital literacy, it could really feel overwhelming.
Making know-how extra accessible
How can we transfer ahead on this digital world, when so many are being left behind? We must always a minimum of make know-how accessible, so the selection is as much as the consumer.
Relating to older adults, having the freedom to decide on their involvement with know-how can present independence and autonomy. When the choice is theirs to make, their high quality of life tends to extend, particularly concerning social isolation.
Whereas older adults are extra weak to phishing and scams and should have bother recognizing pretend housing commercials, having support and academic assets can promote the adoption of a acutely aware and cautious angle on-line, promote the usage of trusted web sites and keep away from disclosing private info akin to SIN and bank card info. This may actively allow older adults to really feel extra snug and assured on-line.
We’re part of the Getting older within the Proper Place (AIRP) Venture which appears on the causes of homelessness for older adults with a purpose to consider present promising practices in place, akin to non permanent housing that assist older adults who’re vulnerable to experiencing homelessness.
An integral a part of this mission is to not solely be in shut contact with the folks working in direction of supporting this inhabitants, but additionally with older folks experiencing homelessness themselves. In our preliminary consumer interviews of these residing within the non permanent housing, we’re typically informed how invaluable know-how is when looking for secure housing.
Expertise can enhance high quality of life
As a society we assume older adults are usually not interested by numerous applied sciences, not as a result of they’re resisting however as a result of applied sciences that presently exist had been merely not created with them in thoughts. Failing to incorporate older adults as know-how customers additional perpetuates the social, info and digital exclusion they expertise.
This leaves only a few alternatives for them to entry schooling and consciousness. Alternatives that do exist to be taught are sometimes present in faculties or at work — that are environments many older adults not frequent.
Expertise can enhance the standard of life for older adults by offering ease, inclusion and luxury by making the necessities, like discovering housing, extra accessible.
It’s time we draw on the assets and academic initiatives in place and attain out to those who’ve been left behind. Let’s empower older adults to be digital residents.
As digital residents, they’ll have extra alternatives to safe housing and instruments to forestall homelessness. These helps is not going to solely give them a way of involvement in a technologically dependent world, but additionally present a way of belonging and inclusion in immediately’s society.
Diana Juanita Mora, an undergraduate analysis assistant from Simon Fraser College, helped analysis and co-author this piece.
Rachelle Patille, Analysis Assistant, Getting older within the Proper Place (AIRP), Simon Fraser University; Atiya Mahmood, Affiliate professor, Gerontology Division, Simon Fraser University, and Priscilla Ruth Chyrva, Assistant Researcher, Getting older within the Proper Place (AIRP), Simon Fraser University