Church raises funds to teach older people digital skills

This year's campaign draws attention to the drop in living standards many pensioners can expect when they retire.

In a survey for the Common Responsibility Campaign, many older people said they struggled with online banking. Image: Sami Takkinen / Yle

Finland's Common Responsibility charity campaign launches on Sunday with an appeal for donations to support work with older people in poverty, and promote training in digital skills for the elderly.

In a survey for the campaign more than a third of over-70-year-olds said that digital services such as online banking, social insurance services and library logins were too difficult for them to use.

More than 500 people answered the survey throughout Finland. One in seven respondents said they felt they did not get enough help in using digital services like online banking.

The goal of this year's campaign is to draw attention to the drop in living standards many pensioners can expect when they retire.

According to the appeal's organisers, over-indebtedness has also risen among older people, especially among women. The risk of poverty for women over 75 is clearly greater than it is for other demographic groups.

They are also more visible in queues for food aid.

"Poorer older people are often in a situation where problems pile up," said the minister in charge of the campaign, Matti Repo, in a statement. "On top of unemployment there can be illnesses and surprising life events. A spell of sickness with pharmacy bills can send many older people into a debt spiral."

Some 60 percent of the proceeds from the campaign this year will go to the Finn Church Aid disaster fund.

The campaign was originally founded after the Second World War to help the needy in Finland, but since 1963 has split proceeds with overseas aid recipients.