Ministerial Conference on e-Inclusion: Older People want the right to opt-in the information society
The European Ministerial e-Inclusion Conference took place on 30 November to 2 December in Vienna, an event co-organised by the European Commission and the Austrian Federal Chancellery in cooperation with the French Presidency.
There is a significant progress in digital inclusion in Europe (progress in inclusive electronic communications, broadband coverage, affordability of services, digital literacy). However, e-Inclusion is not yet accomplished. Large digital gaps exist and certain groups are still excluded from the information society, such as older people, migrants, those who are economically inactive, and persons with disabilities. The conference focused on what still needs to be done to overcome the existing digital gaps, and the topics discussed rang from digital literacy, ageing well, e-Accessibility to investing in inclusive technologies.
During the event, the European Commission also gave away the 2008 e-Inclusion awards to initiatives that tackle social and digital exclusion across Europe. The award for “Ageing well in the Information Society” went to the London Borough of Newham (United Kingdom) who focused on implementing the use of telecare and telehealth technologies in elderly people’s homes.
Anne-Sophie Parent, Director of AGE, who participated twice in the Round Table Discussions, stressed in her interventions that the majority of older people are very positive to make the best use of the knowledge society. However, the vast majority of ICT goods and services are not designed with their needs in mind with the consequence that older people face new barriers in a growing number of essential services, such as access to financial services (e-banking), e-government services, e-shopping, or information services. This implies that the ageing population, the fastest growing section, are denied their right to opt-in in the information society. which is from an economical point of view detrimental. Investing in e-inclusion for the elderly will not only open new markets and boost the economy, but will also enhance the independence and quality of life for older people, and in that sense reduce the growing demands posed on the care staff.
For more information on the e-inclusion conference please click here.
In a recent press release, AGE has also congratulated the initiative of the Danish Finance Ministry to invest in ICT supported long term care and has called on the other Member states to explore how they could boost their economy by supporting similar initiatives. Please read our press release here.