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Briefing Papers

Part of the remit of Age Action is to advocate Government and other bodies on behalf of older people. We have grown to become the leading advocacy organisation for older people - we are the “voice” of older people.

 

 

Supporting Digital Literacy Among Older People

The majority of older people have never been online and digital literacy rates among older people in Ireland lag far behind our EU neighbours. 

Over half of Irish people aged between 65 and 74 have never used the internet, locking older people out of a huge range of benefits. It is not for lack of interest either: 30% of Irish households without internet access say the reason is a lack of skills to use it. Simply, without the ability to confidently navigate the internet, a significant proportion of our population are effectively barred from being fully engaged members of society. A lack of digital literacy has a huge impact on the ability to access services and information, to stay independent for longer, to save money, to participate in the development of national policy, teach and learn skills, and stay connected to community, culture and news.

 

Briefing Paper Carrying Inequality - How Cumulative Inequality Impacts Older People (March 2020)

Cumulative inequality is the idea that inequality adds up over the course of people’s lives, and across generations. This means that people with advantages are more likely to get opportunities for further advantages, and people with disadvantages are more likely to be exposed to risks of further disadvantage.This paper explores how disadvantage and discrimination affects people’s lives, how it adds up over time, and what might make a positive difference

Briefing Paper on Regulating Nursing Home Charges (July 2017)

Older people and their families are prevented from choosing nursing homes under the Fair Deal scheme because of additional charges imposed by nursing homes. Many families are hard-pressed to meet the cost of these charges on top of their contributions under the scheme.

Briefing Paper on Reversing the 2012 State Pension Cuts (February 2017)

More than 36,000 pensioners had their pensions cut because of changes to the State Pension introduced in 2012. Many of these retired workers have lost thousands of euro and women pensioners have lost the most - punished for leaving the workforce to care for their families.

Briefing Paper on the Need for a Convention on the Rights of Older People (November 2016)

In Ireland today, in Europe and globally the rights of older persons are not effectively protected. International human rights law has little to say on issues particular to older people such as elder abuse or support in long-term care. Age Action is part of growing international support for a new international convention on the rights of older people that would address this.

Briefing Paper on Abolishing Mandatory Retirement (October 2016)

Every year in Ireland older workers are forced out of their job for no other reason than they turn 65. This is possible because Irish law permits employers to impose mandatory retirement ages in their employee’s contracts, in effect, facilitating ageism and creating a set of second-class employment rights for older workers.

Age Action is calling for a Digital Allowance to support the Digital Inclusion of Older People and a Study on the Cost of Ageing in Budget 2021

(30 July 2020) 

Age Action, Ireland’s leading advocacy organisation on ageing and older people is calling for Budget 2021 to include a digital allowance in the form of a €2.50 increase to the Telephone Support Allowance and a broadening of the eligibility criteria to support older people to access digital technology.

Paddy Connolly, CEO Age Action said ‘Digital exclusion is a reality for at least 33% of people over the age of 65 with the associated cost being one of the barriers to access for older people. We know that communication costs have increased during COVID-19 as people became more reliant on digital communications as a means of communicating with family, health professionals, arranging essential services and addressing social isolation.  In the context of an increasing reliance on telehealth measures and public health advice, Age Action urges the Government to increase the Telephone Support Allowance, introduced in June 2018 at a weekly rate of €2.50, to €5 and for a broadening of the eligibility criteria which is narrowly confined to those getting the Living Alone Allowance who are also eligible for the Fuel Allowance.’

Government services now actively prefer transactions to be digital under a “Digital First”approach, encouraging people to carry out their tax returns, and apply to r enew their driving licences and passports online. The Public Service ICT Strategy prioritises the digitisation of ‘the main existing citizen and business transactional services across Public Services’. There is an increasing reliance on digital channels to provide information by both the public and private sector which undermines people’s ability to access information which was very evident during the height of the pandemic. In a recent CSO survey of households of those over 60 and not online, the second greatest challenge to people who said they needed access to broadband, after lack of digital skills, was the perceived prohibitive cost.

‘Older people are being left behind because they do not have adequate access or skills to engage with digital services or participate in the digital economy; providing a digital allowance as well as investing in one-to-one digital literacy training that meets the needs of older people, is critical to bridging the digital divide. The new National Digital Skills Strategy committed to under the Programme for Government will have budgetary implications; Budget 2021 should begin to support older people to keep up’ Connolly said.