In This Digital Age: Digitisation’s Unintentional Left-Behinds

So I got a letter the other day informing me of the SG Bonus . I was elated, the money won’t buy me much – one month’s worth of milk powder for my kids. But it was an effort by the Singapore Government to share the fruits of Singapore’s development (I’ll ignore the cynics for now).

But as much as I was elated, I was also troubled. With the letter, I was also informed that if I have a PayNow Account, I would get the money earlier. This, I supposed, was another drive to push the Smart Nation agenda.

However, what I realised was that the very people who need the money would probably be the last to get the SG Bonus. This is because people who did not link your bank accounts to PayNow would get the SG Bonus at a later date. And a majority of them are our elderlies (my dearest mom included), who did not link their bank accounts to PayNow.

I can think of several reasons why our elders don’t do the linkage.

  1. They don’t understand the concept of PayNow. Up until a decade plus ago, personal bank transfers was a much complicated affair. Even after explaining to my mom, she still couldn’t quite get the concept.
  2. They do not / can’t afford to own a smart phone.
  3. Simply because of security. Like what Uncle Ben said,”With great power, comes great responsibilities.”. My mom for one, doesn’t trust PayNow. I too, don’t trust my mom with a PayNow facility, especially when she don’t fully understand the service.

So, how can we help our elderly be more included in this digital age?

  1. Education
    This, I feel the Singapore government has done quite a lot in trying to educate our elderly folks. However, that is not enough. Family encouragement is also very important. Remember how our parents patiently taught us things when we were young? It’s time to return the favour. Be patient when teaching our elderly folks on how to use technology. Encourage them, and don’t give up even when they do.
  2. Simplifying Customer Journeys
    I had a horrible experience trying to shop at one of the eCommerce site recently. And as I reflect back on my experience, I couldn’t help but think of how my mom would have felt if she was the one who was trying to make the online purchase. It was bad right from the beginning. If every company designed their and apps with the user in mind, I’m sure the adoption rate (not only for elderly) would be much better.
  3. Elderly Centric Services & Offerings
    With Singapore’s aging population, a new class of seniors are emerging. They are the baby boomers generation. They are much better educated than the post-war cohort, and in much better financial position. They still eat, play and bank, but in a different way compared to Gen-Y or Millennials. If we can capitalise on this white space, the potential and upsides can be quite substantial.
  4. Using AI, Deep Links, Predictive Analytics, Blockchain & Biometrics
    One of the main barriers to adoption and usage is the number of steps involved in setting up to use technology. What if companies or government, through the use of intelligent and secured technologies, are able to further simplify the usage journey, to make it so seamless that elderly folks do not have to spend time to understand what needs to be done? This would not only help the elderly, but for all users alike.

So, what do you think can be done further to help seniors catch up to the digital age.

About Kaye
Grew up in Singapore, stood on the cusp of the internet revolution and surfed it (literally). My “cloud” was made up of FTP servers, my “WiFi” were RJ-45 cables that ran across the walls in trunking that my dad hand-laid, and I coded in Turbo Pascal (if you know them, you’re probably as old as I am, or older). 🙂

I’m fascinated by all things digital and still bear nostalgia towards childhood gadgets. My first Pentium-I PC that ran on Windows’98, the comforting sound of the 56K modem, the fun I had with the Nintendo PopEye Handheld, the fights with my siblings over who got to use the land line, and my original Nokia 3310 that’s still sitting somewhere in my mom’s house. Not to mention the grande dames of the living room – the television sets that I grew up watching.

The site name originated from my mother. Every time she wanted to tell me something that I may not like, she’ll always start with “Just general talk…”. From her general talks I’ve learned, reflected, and rebutted (a lot). Caused her (major) heartaches along the way, and still inflicting some (minor ones) on a regular basis.

I would love to hear your thoughts on my articles. So do connect with me and let me know what you think of my articles.! 🙂

Connect with me:
Twitter: @kayehau

Feature Photo by from Pexels

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