chapter  7
16 Pages

ICT use and the elderly: Cohort, lifestage or just irrelevant?


Europe has an ageing population. By 1995, seventy million people over the age of sixty were living in the Union, almost 20 per cent of the total population. By 2020, this figure will rise to 25 per cent and the number of people over eighty-years-old will more than double (Seniorwatch, 2002). There will therefore be more older people in absolute as well as relative terms, there will be considerably more older ‘old’ people, there will be fewer family (informal) carers, and there will be a smaller workforce if current employment and retirement practices persist. We cannot ignore these facts, but we also cannot ignore the associated media attention which tends, rather predictably, to focus on the negative aspects of this demographic trend.