Society

Golden age no stranger to digital age

Images of life at retirement have changed substantially over recent years.
  • Image, side profile of a elderly man using a laptop.

    Thanks to improvements in health, wealth, education, and work conditions, our whole population is changing; of all people old enough to work (aged 15 and over), 1 in 6 are now 65 years or over (65+). But we’re discovering that those entering this age group are not only living longer, they're also living 'smarter'.

    Living longer and smarter

    Just under half the 65+ group were Internet users in 2012. That’s around 280,000 people – over 60,000 more than in 2009. This now technologically engaged group sidesteps queues and escapes bad weather through the convenience of doing things online from home.

    Of the older Internet users, just under half  (139,000) used the Internet for online banking in the past year. This was the activity the greatest number of the 65+ age group participated in (as for other age groups). Almost as many (135,000) used the Internet to find health information.

    Access to such services online can offer significant benefit to those with mobility issues.

    The ease of shopping from home also appealed to people aged 65+. Around 137,000 of them (49 percent) made online purchases in the last year. If we look more closely at online spending over a four-week period, 31,000 people spent up to $100 online, and another 24,000 spent up to $500.

    Internet entertainment

    While the practical uses of the Internet were the most-favoured online activities of the older generations, online entertainment has also become popular. Of Internet users aged 65+, just under one-third read digital newspapers or books, 1 in 5 watched movies, and just under 1 in 5 downloaded or listened to music online.

    With access to instant communication at our fingertips, distance from family and friends is much less of an issue today; almost 1 in 4 people in the 65+ group used a social networking site in 2012.

    Number online grows

    Not only has the proportion of the 65+ age group involved in online activities increased, the group itself continues to grow. This means the actual number of people engaged in some activities has almost doubled over the three years to 2012.

    Source: Statistics New Zealand

Just under half the people aged 65 and over were Internet users in 2012.
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