Dementia Action Week, which aims to encourage people to take action to improve the lives of people affected by dementia, is coming up soon (May 21 - 27).
According to the Alzheimer’s Society, there are around 850,000 people in the UK who are living with dementia, and one person develops dementia every three minutes.
But it doesn’t just affect the elderly, with more than 40,000 people in the UK under the age of 65 affected by early onset dementia.
Older people have specific access needs
Dementia Action Week focuses attention on why brands must support the access needs of our ageing population.
They form a huge group of older customers that is set to grow even bigger. According to the OFCOM Communications Market Report 2017:
“In the UK, 14.3 million people are aged 60 or over; 2.9 million are aged 80 or over. From 2012 to 2032 the populations of 65-84 year olds and the over-85s are set to increase by 39% and 106% respectively, whereas 0-14 and 15-64 year olds are set to increase by 11% cent and 7% respectively.”
And because most health conditions, impairments and disabilities (including dementia) are acquired with age as we grow older, this area of population growth will create more access issues.
Digital exclusion and age
We talk about silver surfers – the OFCOM market report states that more than half (53%) of over 74’s now have internet access at home, up from 45% in 2016 – but what about digital exclusion for older people?
How easy is it for them to use a company’s website to find information and do everyday tasks, like setting up a customer account or paying a household utility bill?
Many older people will have visual impairments or physical mobility impairments that mean they need support to access content and services on websites.
This underlines why it’s crucial to design all websites, apps and other digital communications using accessible design, including designing websites and apps to WCAG 2.0 Level AA as a minimum standard.
Companies like United Utilities and South East Water also use web accessibility software Recite Me on their websites to help their older customers to access the services and information on their respective websites.
The Recite Me’s accessibility and language toolbar lets these customers, and those with disabilities, format websites in the way the suits them best.
For example, customers with visual impairments can change the font size, change the font colour and background colour contrast, and opt to have the text read aloud to them.
These features allow people with conditions like visual impairments to easily access information on websites and do the key tasks they need to do.
100’s of organisations already use Recite Me to make their websites more accessible to older people and people with disabilities – book your free demo now or call on 0191 4328092 to find out more.