Why your interview matters: Age UK

“Without you taking part in the survey, Age UK would not be able to influence on important matters such as the quality and provision of social care and the wellbeing of older people,” says Marcus Green, Age UK.

Age UK is the country’s largest charity dedicated to helping everyone make the most of later life. Age UK used data from Understanding Society to look at the digital inclusion of older people in the UK.

Question and Answers

Could you tell us more about your role at Age UK?

I am the Social and Economic Research Manager at Age UK. My role is to manage our programme of research to support Age UK’s influencing, campaigning and provision of services for older people across topics such as health and social care, loneliness, wellbeing and poverty.

Why did you use Understanding Society particularly?

We chose to access Understanding Society data after a review of available social surveys for our project. Understanding Society has a UK focus, a larger sample of older participants and importantly included relevant questions for us to explore digital exclusion amongst older people.

What survey questions did you focus on?

The survey question on the frequency of internet use was our primary focus. We explored older participants' responses to this question by their answers to socio-demographic questions such as those on age, sex, ethnicity, living arrangements, financial circumstances and health.

What makes the longitudinal data useful?

The evidence that influencing organisations such as charities can glean from Understanding Society is invaluable. Using the data we have been able to identify the size and characteristics of the older population who do not use the internet. This analysis of characteristics has given Age UK further insight into why certain groups of older people are not online.

Many public services are now accessible online and it is planned that offline channels will be switched off. With this evidence we can demonstrate that vast numbers of older people will be affected by these changes and necessary measures will need to be put in place to assist older people who will find it challenging to use public services in this way.

 The quality and robustness of the evidence we can gather from Understanding Society is crucial in influencing key decision-makers during this significant period of transition.

Why is it important for our participants to continue to take part in the study?

Age UK regularly explores data in Understanding Society to support its charitable activities in helping older people live a healthy, fulfilling and prosperous later life. Without this invaluable data, Age UK would not be able to produce high-quality evidence to influence on important matters such as the quality and provision of social care, ensuring the wellbeing of older people, demonstrating the value of grandparents and many other important issues.

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