In Aquitaine, the bus picks up seniors on the verge of “road to digital”

Older persons participate to a workshop in a ‘digital bus’ in Villandraut, in the south-west of France, on may 22, 2018 (Photo GEORGES GOBET. AFP)

Health insurance, retirement, taxes, grey card… the dematerialization leaves on the side of the road cohorts of older workers, little or never computerized. In Aquitaine, a “digital bus” pioneer tries to pick up these forgotten, confused between irrational fears, lack of knowledge of the tool, or simple solitude.

Villandraut, its castle of the Fourteenth century, its thousand inhabitants, and, as elsewhere, its retirees to the pain, or even “panic” at the time of the tax through the internet. A dozen is enhardie to climb in the “digital bus”, launched by CARSAT (Caisse d’assurance retraite et de la santé at work), announced for the day on the village square girondin.

“Please, we light it how ?” A laugh embarrassed fuse with one of the 12 computer stations, built in the comfortable air-conditioned coach, revamped green: kindness and reassurance will be the keys that are most activated of the day. “It is that I am on the wrong sided, a little nounouille…”

For hours, She is the trainer going to navigate carefully between the questions, candid or panic: “Wow, that is what I have done, here ?” Push the young person in his seventies “has an email address knows go on the internet” but not transfer photos. Encourage the one without a connection, but “who wants to buy a (computer) by the end of the year… forced.” Or appease another, more steep, that the computer “isn’t interested” and that will leave the car at the break.

– “Who will help us ?” –

“There are those who do not sleep the night before coming here,” says Corinne Hébert, coordinator of the bus, provided by the private provider SAS PLEASE (Solutions life practice). “There are those who are afraid, those who feel a void or rejected, because they have not learned. There are curious, interested. And then the refractory. A question comes up all the time: Who is going to help us ?”

Pre-retirees until the great age (85 years or more), the “passengers” of the bus, “about 45% have no email address. And the vast majority of these have no tool at all”, diagnostic Corinne Hébert. “And then there’s the fear about the personal data, the need for council to purchase. And for small retreats, just the inability to afford the equipment.”

Launched at the end of 2016, the “digital bus” is in its second season: around 200 villages-steps, and 2,500 beneficiaries. And an emulator already, running down the Centre-Val-de-Loire.

“When there is 2-3 years old has been announced the complete dematerialization of the tax return, and the removal of the paper, there has been a rise of ground, of the phenomena of near-panic among some of our insured retirees,” recalls Pierrick Floor, deputy director of CARSAT Aquitaine.

In the jargon of social, this is called “abandonment and social competence”, in other words, tens of thousands of the last of the rope from the computer. A “digital divide” is known but here is reinforced by the computerization of the supply of social, and by the isolation often own to senior citizens.

– “The institution creates the divide” –

“The problem is the acceleration, insists Mr. Floor. It’s going very, very fast. Of technological developments, it has always known, but a number of people are lost compared to this pace”.

Cruel paradox: “institutionally, it creates new social fractures” with the direction taken, as legitimate they are. “Because the digital age, it is not to be taken, it is taken. The problem is getting out of the turn: either you control the trajectory, or we will send in the background”.

It is there that intervenes the car, fielded in the territories to “de-dramatize, to demystify, reassure and lead the public, weakened towards support for sustainable. If the communities and associations have the means, because to 2,700 euros TTC the day, the CARSAT did not intend to fund fleets of “digital bus”.

A measure of the workshop, relaxation and jokes settle in the car, adequate response to the flood of concepts on the beginners: “device detected”, “defragment hard drive”, “touch pad”, “folder/windows”. The eyes roll, the “Pffff” of despair abound. But also sometimes the light, the link re-created: “Aaaaah, OK !”

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