Our last blog post highlighted the benefits of the new smartphone app we will be implementing – which will aim to make our work more efficient and safer for our clients. But in thinking about the progression of technology that benefits some, I am aware that it is also creating a wider gap of exclusion for others.
For people with little or no internet access or skills – which often include older people – trying to keep up with a world that’s demanding them to be online, is a challenge.
For these people, trying to deal with utility companies or banks has become increasing difficult as these organisations seek to phase out paper bills and reduce customer service desks in favour of automated systems. And recently in Brighton and Hove, a scheme was trialled that took the pay and display meters out of service to encourage payment via smartphones. This can be challenging for those who don’t have such a device.
Fortunately, there is a quite a bit of awareness of digital exclusion and several local and national initiatives to try and tackle this problem.
Locally, there is a great initiative called Brighton and Hove Council Connect which is trying to help everyone get online by offering free use of computers in all Brighton and Hove libraries as well as free help sessions that include one-on-one tuition for those with little or no online experience.
Additionally, Age UK has a computer drop-in centre at Seven Dials to offer support using the Internet and technology, which includes using a smartphone.
Here at The Private Care Company, our carers can also provide some internet support to our clients who need it.