A sharp rise in the number of over 75s going online thanks to tablet technology is welcome news, according to a Shropshire IT specialist.
Chris Pallett, Managing Director of Telford based Bespoke Computing, said the upward trend revealed in a recent report by communications regulator OFCOM would help tackle issues of social isolation among older people.
The research said that more than a quarter (27 per cent) of those aged over 75 now use tablets, up from 15 per cent in 2015. Forty one per cent of over 75s now have a social media presence, more than double the 19 per cent that logged onto sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in 2015.
The statistics are backed by Chris’ own experience – earlier this year Bespoke Computing rolled out tablet technology to clients of Sentinel Care Services, which cares for people in their own homes across Shropshire and Staffordshire.
The multi functional Sentinel Companion that runs on an Android tablets can remind people when to go to the pharmacy or take a prescription, allow them to view favourite websites or join in with exercises classes streamed online.
It helps them connect with friends, family and caregivers online using video or audio calling, messaging and photo or video sharing.
He said: “I think the simplicity of tablet technology is one of the attractions for older people who want to be able to stay in touch with family and friends, many of whom will be conversant with digital technology.
“Sentinel Companion is ground breaking in its originality and simplicity. The model is one that I can see being adopted across the care industry as it allows people to be more independent in terms of managing their own lives yet interact with others as needed.”
Sentinel Care Services echoed the uptake of tablet technology amongst older people.
Director Steve Harris said: “Once people see how it can transform their lives, they’re really keen to have a go. The uptake and operation of Sentinel Care has been very positive so far and it is giving our clients peace of mind, allowing them to remain more independent while still living at home.
“As well as the additional safety through improved medication compliance and reduced likelihood of missed appointments or treatments, Sentinel Companion provides families and caregivers with an oversight where little or none existed previously so it’s been a very positive move for everyone.”