Gadgets and Wi-Fi now essential to UK’s switched-on over-50s

Almost 90% of older people in the UK own at least one wireless gadget - like a laptop, tablet or smartphone - which increasingly they use for socialising, shopping and booking holidays online.

Modern gadgets and Wi-Fi are no longer the preserve of the young and hip as the UK's over-50s are quickly becoming as connected as the younger generation, according to new research.

A survey by over-50s company Saga found that 88% of older people now have at least one wireless gizmo - like a laptop, tablet or smartphone - to browse the web, do their shopping and keep in contact with friends and family whenever and wherever Wi-Fi is available.

More than a third of over-50s said they regularly use social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, and a quarter use Skype or a similar video calling app to stay in touch with loved ones.

Roger Ramsden, chief executive of Saga Services, said: "The Saga generations have embraced technology, perhaps because it adds so much benefit to their lives. For many people now, losing their tablet or smartphone cuts them off from their friends and family."

As well as shopping online, finding directions and socialising, more than half of the 10,000 over-50s surveyed said they pay bills on their laptop, while 45% like to plan days out on their tablet and more than a third use their tablet to listen to music.

When connected to the Wi-Fi at home, older people increasingly use technology all over the house - and garden - with the living room and kitchen by far the busiest hives of online activity.

In the bedroom, 19% of over-50s check their smartphone last thing at night, and in the backyard, 36% have taken a break from the weeding to use wireless technology.

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