Italy is not a country for old people online

Italy is not a country for old people online
A recent Eurostat report photographed the seniority of the European population, dividing the analysis for each individual nation in the EU. It is inevitable that Italy is among the oldest populations of the entire continent, with some particularly relevant accents in the over 80 age bracket. Often and willingly this data is used as a stick on the hopes and attitudes of Italians, photographed (especially as a completely homegrown self-flagellation) as an indolent population with little hope. A more in-depth analysis of the data, however, seems to tell a slightly different story, with nuances that it is important to know how to observe.

An increasing seniority weighs on our country, which however has precise and meritorious origins. At the same time, a poor cultural growth and a growing distance from the opportunities of innovation weigh on the nation, which weighs on everyone much more than just seniority as a statistic in its own right.

Old Italy

Yes, Italy has to deal with a very old population. We are well above the European average and (together with the whole Mediterranean area) we have seen the percentage of elderly people rise rapidly compared to the entire population: this is the result of an increasingly scarce nativity and an average life expectancy in extension. The figure, however, is also not dissimilar to the German one, although the projection varies: in 2050 ours will be the oldest country by far, reaching over 45% of the population over 55 years of age. The recent pandemic has a lot to say in this regard, especially in terms of costs on the health and social assistance service.

These data are certainly not a fault, on the contrary: Eurostat statistics clearly state that, in addition to all the advantages that the climate and nature give us, we are the population that has the best nutrition, especially in terms daily consumption of vegetables (we are at the top in Europe) and alcohol (we are just below the European average). The high average age is therefore also a goal, as well as a burden that politics must learn to manage and control.

The third age does not go online

However, problems arise when reaches its capabilities with digital tools, since on this front there is a real wall: 40% of over-55s have never used a computer, a percentage that grows by 20 percentage points if we analyze the 65-74 age group . In both cases, the figure has improved by 10% in about 10 years, but it is clear that on the basis of these data it is clear how very complex it is to be able to provide "smart" solutions to a very large segment of the population.

Although for the youngest it seems almost paradoxical, this is the reason that often pushes the palaces of politics to compromise solutions that do not entrust every task to cashless, SPID, apps or online services: for too many people this is a stumbling block insurmountable since the problem is neither economic nor instrumental, but cultural. Vast segments of the population therefore get information on TV, queue at the post office, read only approximately the newspapers and do not feed on the wealth that the Web is able to offer on each of these fronts (or it does it with approximation and with little awareness of those in their first steps with a smartphone). In Italy, the difference between men and women is also particularly accentuated, with men even less active on this front.

In terms of "digital skills" on the entire national population, what is worse than Italy is only Poland, Bulgaria and Romania; the 55-64 range weighs above all, which proportionally weighs heavily on the indolence of our country towards the digital approach. If you think that often it is precisely on this age group that the wealth (not only real estate) of our nation is concentrated, this speaks volumes about atavistic resistances that arise in the presence of everything that is innovation.

Despite appearances, Italy is also in the queue in the use of social networks, as well as in the adoption of the e-mail tool, while defending itself in terms of the use of mobile telephony (an aspect on which we have also enjoyed a certain avant-garde astride the new millennium). In terms of online purchases, the 65-74 range is under-represented, gravitating extremely below the European average: the cultural gap created can only determine this situation, thus creating obstacles also in the expansion of digital payment tools, which will now therefore need to be stimulated. with a cashback plan launched in recent weeks and destined to last until mid-2022.

A sad record that belongs to us is related to loneliness. Although most of the elderly enjoy daily frequentation with close people, there is instead a high percentage of lonely elderly people. The data is in all likelihood related to the strong generation gap existing in a country with few young people and many elderly people, where therefore the percentage of people destined for loneliness in old age increases.

It does not appear complex, therefore, to reconnect these data also to the recent pandemic, where each of these statistics seems to corroborate the picture of a country particularly exposed to the damage of a problem that has put some areas of Italy under pressure, RSA, intensive care and family meetings. All issues that only the generational change will be able to improve, leading today's young people to present themselves with greater skills to the third age and exploiting the levers of digital technology to improve the living conditions of that large segment of the population - productive today - that will weigh on their shoulders of the - few - very young today.

Source: Eurostat

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