Elderly people using internet - Albania

Albania is one of the poorest, in transition countries in Europe, but internet has penetrated rapidly during recent years. The reason behind this is the Albanians’ desire to communicate as much as possible. Albania’s distinction is that internet is used not only by young people, but also by older age people and, sometimes, by the elderly and grandparents.

Vlora is one of Albanian cities most affected by emigration. While youngsters live in Italy or Greece more elderly parents are left without care and living away from their children. The internet is the only way to communicate with their sons and daughters. During Get Online Week a special story was presented on TV Chanel One. Both Ismet and Fiqirie Xhaka elderly persons living alone were assisted to use the internet not only to communicate with their sons who live in Italy, but also to use it as a tool to communicate with the medical staff or to receive information on special services. This elderly couple of over 65 years, resident in the city of Vlora, pays every month twenty Euros (almost a fifth of the Albanian average pension) to have access to internet. The story was broadcasted on news edition reaching a national audience.

The Internet Utility Week or Get Online Week is promoted in Albania for the second year. The purpose of this week is to encourage as many individuals in a utilitarian use of internet. Today, many elderly people whose children have emigrated are obliged to use the internet for communication purposes. Their longing for the children has imposed them to buy equipments, phones or computers. They use Skype and similar programs to talk with the rest of their family that is in emigration. But it would be very interesting to help these people to use the internet also for health consultations; going to the doctor for everything is difficult and such websites in Albanian language are available today.

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