Hungary does not pay enough attention to the possibilities offered by active ageing tools and by an inclusive Information Society for the elderly in relation to socio-economic competitiveness, employment, education and skills development. These indeed hold considerable potential in terms of market opportunities, productivity and growing domestic consumption.
Hungary has entered an era of accelerating loss of the demographic balance: while the Hungarian population will lessen by 10-20 percent in the next decades, society will age faster than the European average. It is foreseen, as a result, that in 2050, the legacy costs of one inactive old persons will be supported by only 2 active employees, instead of 5 today.
In a recent research, the Foundation for the Research on the Information Society has examined the process of ageing in terms of labour market activity, social contact networks, intellectual and physical activity as well as an independent and full life. It furthermore assessed the effects and drawbacks of the more or less open attitudes concerning technological innovations.
The research results have drawn a clear causal mechanism among the above aspects. Should state intervention intend to reach the strongest possible multiplier effect among the elderly, that is, in case its final objective is to increase employment and life quality, it must take account of the following lines:
- Economic activity is most influenced by intellectual state;
- Intellectual state is most influenced by the use of ICT tools.
Improving the accessibility and usage of ICT tools in the elderly group is therefore of substantial importance. The report calls on the government to pay special attention to this since digital tools play a provable influence on the improvement of the quality of life and intellectual activity of the aging and older people.
Unfortunately, some kind of a Matthew effect can also be demonstrated: the use of the ICT tools is basically influenced by intellectual activity, while it is one’s intellectual state and activity that can be most improved by the use of ICT tools, so those possessing a lot of cultural capital are able to accumulate even more by using these tools. This also means that those being in the highest need of the life quality improvement possibilities offered by the ICT tools show the most negative attitudes. The research thus concludes that the elderly in the Information Society represent a strongly segmented category.
Source: Official press release – Foundation for the Research on Information Society (in Hungarian)