Digitalization of Age United Kingdom Organization

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The over-60s are the fastest-growing demographic in society, as well as one of the most difficult. Age UK provides services and support to help them to be inspired and supported while safeguarding the interests of future generations (AGE UK, 2020a). Locally, the Age UK network consists of approximately 125 local Age UKs that cover the majority of England (AGE UK). Age UK also collaborates with organizations such as Age Cymru, Age NI, and Age Scotland, as well as Age International, to provide support to vulnerable older people in over 40 countries around the world (AGE UK, no date).

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Organization history can be traced back to the 1940s when it was known as National Old People’s Welfare Committee. It became Age UK in April 2010 and, in 2012, established a distinct sister charity, Age International, to expand internationally (AGE UK, no date). For decades, it brought under its umbrella a number of local charities, developing its services throughout England and the whole world.

Age UK’s products and services are grouped into numerous categories, each of which covers social and technical issues and serves a particular purpose. For example, an information and guidance service is designed to deliver information on a variety of issues. Daycare and wellbeing services are linked to comprehensive needs, such as mental and physical stimulation (e.g., day trips) (AGE UK, 2020a). Similarly, the so-called chums were designed to develop social activity by providing different types of meetings, such as coffee clubs or knitting courses. Most importantly, Age UK provides visiting services to combat loneliness and isolation, at the same time offering Computer services for guidance in IT issues, as well as access and assist with online shopping and medical prescriptions.

Campaigning and research, information and guidance, health and care services, wellbeing programs, local services, and international services are the six areas of charitable activities that Age UK focuses on. Age UK has three main strategic goals: to provide support for the older people on a long-term basis, as well as to strive for the common good, collaboration with supporters and volunteers to encourage others to join the effort. (AGE UK, 2020a). As a result, we can see that Age UK provides critical community support by enabling people to choose their own care and implementing best practices for overcoming loneliness, getting older people active, and assisting them in remaining independent for longer.

Results and Discussion

Several obstacles and impediments could be identified after analysing the company’s products, services, and strategy. Firstly, there is a lack of IT products (laptops, PCs, tablets) easily available for older people, and they are sometimes unable to purchase them for various reasons (e.g., financial). Secondly, consideration should be given to the problem of motivation. While some of the older people are capable of using modern technology, others are not and do not see the need to learn. This can be a major communication barrier, especially in the current pandemic situation (AGE UK, 2020b). Face-to-face interaction is decreasing, and frequent lockdowns are increasing feelings of loneliness; therefore, it’s more important than ever to learn how to use modern technology.

Some of the company’s services, naturally, cannot be adapted to online delivery. For example, conducting IT training for complete beginners over the phone seems to be very difficult. The possible way to solve this issue is to fully adopt precautionary measures and to prioritize individual lessons. On the other hand, there are services and products that have already been adapted to the online delivery model. This is applicable for the information and advising services, as well as access to online prescriptions and appointments with doctors.

The services in the middle of this list are those that are best handled in person but can be adapted for online use. Various social gatherings/interest groups, for example, can be supplied via online resources with audio/video interaction (AGE UK, 2020a). It can be even more advantageous for the elderly, particularly those who have transportation issues yet still wish to engage in such events.

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While many of the pre-pandemic issues that older people experience still exist today, they have grown in depth, are more pervasive, and are more detrimental to those older people who are most vulnerable than they have ever been. While local assistance is more important than ever, especially given the burden on local health and social care agencies, it is also under threat: company incomes have taken a knock, putting their long-term existence in communities where they have worked in danger.

From the research, it became clear that some of the company’s services cannot be adapted to a pandemic situation because they cannot be delivered online. During the pandemic, for example, computer drop-off sessions were simply shut down. Other products, on the other hand, that are in high demand in an elderly society could be more or less successfully implemented online. The telephone was used for social meetings, advice calls, and wellbeing consultations, and some daycare services were developed with all available covid precautions.

More solutions can be proposed as a result of these developments, as well as the inevitable obstacles that will hinder these transformations. The increasing use of video and other current platforms, such as WhatsApp, Zoom, Google Meet, and others, should be the major opportunity and solution for the ongoing expansion of the company’s service (AGE UK, 2020b). Having the ability to interact with each other via video chat rather than just a voice call will be much more enjoyable for older people during lockdowns.

The lack of access to IT products is the main impediment to this solution, which became even more acute during the pandemic. While many businesses and individuals who support Age UK are facing financial difficulties, the lack of funds to provide basic IT equipment to the elderly has become an obvious issue (AGE UK, 2020a). Secondly, internet connection is still unreliable in some areas, which hinders the development of online services. Finally, many elderly people are concerned about why they should be online and how they can benefit from it (AGE UK, 2020b). The widespread skepticism of modern technologies, as well as a lack of desire to learn more about them, posed a challenge for the development of online services. It is not easy to resolve these issues, but it is possible, and as a result, both the corporation and the local communities will profit from the pandemic situation.

The second alternative that may be presented to improve the safety of the senior population while also contributing to the digital growth of local communities during Covid is to shift the focus of company ambassadors. It seemed natural to promote digitization to the elderly prior to the epidemic through young ambassadors who are familiar with current appliances and can share their knowledge. The elderly, on the other hand, are in danger due to the low rate of immunization among young people and their general disregard for precautionary measures. Families, close relatives, or inner circles can be urged to engage in providing vital assistance to a neighbour or close acquaintance, for example (AGE UK, 2020a). The role of ambassadors should not be fully diminished, particularly in broad advertising techniques such as phone calls, TV commercials, or newspapers; nevertheless, in pandemic times, a closer circle will be more effective in pushing for digitalization.

Conclusion and Recommendations

Despite the fact that the epidemic has transformed Age UK, as it has many individuals, the older people now need help the most. The depth and breadth of need that older people are experiencing right now in a very uncertain future require more focus and ability act together than ever before.

For the elderly population who are afraid of, or new to, technology, creating a positive experience is critical. It’s critical that any engagement with technology be a favorable one. While fostering digitalization may not be appealing to all elderly people, it could be one way to assist those who are under threat of becoming lonely. People can use it to maintain or form new social links, allowing them to maintain their independence while also improving their well-being.

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Human lives are continuing to be transformed by digital technology, particularly in terms of how we communicate, work, access services, and use our free time. It’s becoming increasingly crucial for older people to have the digital access, skills, and confidence; they must be able to live a full and self-sufficient life, allowing them to stay in touch with loved ones, shop online, and pursue hobbies.

Reference List


AGE UK. (2020a) Age UK’s Report of Trustees and Annual Accounts for 2019/20

AGE UK. (2020b) Loneliness and Digital inclusion.

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