Share of Internet Users by Age (% of Total)
As of 2016, 48.7 percent of all households in South Africa had access to the Internet, and only 5.4 percent of all Internet users were 60 years or older – below their share of the total population, which stands at 8 percent.
Source: Effective Measure
Some larger companies have designed devices specifically for older people. Vodacom has been working to help older adults in South Africa transition technologically along with the rest of the population. The company recently released a phone called the Vodfone V155, specifically designed for older customers experiencing vision loss and for those with limited hand functionality. Some of its features include a big-button keypad, general compatibility with hearing aids, a noise-cancellation feature, a voice-reminder feature, and an SOS key alert function. Additionally, the company has set up the Disabled and Elderly Specific Needs Strategy for Vodacom South Africa and has recruited staff who are responsible for setting up kiosks at various organizations for the disabled, making these older-adult- and disabled-specific products more accessible to them.
Healthcare & Wellness
Life expectancy and healthy life expectancy for older adults have both improved in the last decade in South Africa, although they are still lower than both the regional and global averages. The government has made reforming the healthcare system its primary focus in order to provide the entire population with better-quality healthcare, but there are still very limited resources available for long-term care (LTC). In order to make up for this, some NGOs have begun to provide health and LTC services for older people in the provinces and municipalities in which they operate, as well as transportation services so that they have easier access to medical facilities.
In South Africa today, there is a nationwide total of just 13 registered geriatricians to serve the older adult population, and most of them work in the private sector.
Healthcare System Reform
The South African government has been working since 2012 on an ambitious healthcare system reform that aims to establish National Health Insurance (NHI), a health-financing system that would provide universal healthcare to all South Africans by combining public and private healthcare resources into a single healthcare scheme. Pooling resources in this way is intended to improve coverage quality by including access to preventative and curative care for all South Africans, and to improve affordability by financing through mandatory prepayment rather than out-of-pocket payments and co-payments. As a part of the NHI implementation, the Department of Health is working to re-engineer its primary care policy to provide priority treatment to older adults in primary care facilities. The final phase of the plan is expected to produce results by 2030.