Seniors shouldn't be left behind in city's digital transformation

Ding Yining
Elderly people's digital service needs are often neglected and their inclusion is an important part of the city's digital transformation.
Ding Yining

Dozens of Shanghai political advisors have proposed more inclusive digital services for the elderly population.

Zhang Ying, a member of the Shanghai Committee of the Chinese Peasants' and Workers' Democratic Party and deputy director of the Shanghai Commission of Economy and Information, pointed out that elderly people's digital service needs are often neglected and their inclusion is an important part of the city's digital transformation.

"Bridging the digital gap for the elderly should be an integral part of the city's regulations on elderly services, and all levels of government bodies and commercial service providers should take heed," Zhang said.

In 2019, almost 5.2 million of Shanghai's permanent residents —35 percent — were 60 or older, and 52 percent were female.

"Many of them lack supportive measures to help them with digital services," she said.

Dozens of apps and more than 100 websites, including news sites, lifestyle services and online shopping platforms, are among the first group to undergo improvements to offer more concise interfaces for seniors and the visually impaired, according to officials from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. 

The female elderly population assumes most of the home-care work and shopping for daily necessities, requiring urgent, special attention, according to Zhang Liping, a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference Shanghai Committee. 

She suggests maintaining in-person services at major public service sectors and service hotlines at telecom and broadband firms.

"Their input should be taken into consideration while communities undergo smart infrastructure upgrades so their needs are better reflected," she said.

The CPPCC Shanghai Committee also suggests more training in government agencies and charitable organizations in terms of digital services. 

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