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Helping the Elderly Get Online

Rinky Dink Inc

There are far more elderly people in the United Kingdom that haven’t used the Internet than those that have. According to the Office for National Statistics only 38.7% of adults aged 75 years and over have used the Internet. The internet and modern technology is something that younger people find easy to get to grips with as they have learned about is as they have grown up and is part of their daily life. It is not often that you find a teenager who is not glued to their phone or Internet-enabled device.

For elderly people, however, the Internet and computers can be alien devices and can seem very daunting and complicated. We have to remember that they grew up with much simpler devices that didn’t have any confusing terms or menu systems. Getting start with a computer is one challenge, but getting an elderly person on the Internet too can be even more complicated.

Use Simple Devices

One way we can encourage elderly people to get online is by helping them get to grips with it using simple devices like tablets with touchscreens. I have often tried to help elderly relatives in the past use a computer with a mouse, and they have struggled to follow the mouse pointer or understand what to click on. The concept of a touchscreen is much simpler, ll you need to do is press on the thing you want to do. A device like the Apple iPad is perfect for this task as Apple have designed their operating system so that it is simple to use and not overwhelming regarding features and functionality.

Online Security is Scary

Many older people simply refuse to use the Internet as they have heard that their information can be compromised or stolen. Why would they want to put all their information online so that someone can just come a long and steal it?

Online security is a complicated topic and not really something that can be explained easily without the use of jargon or complicated terms. It is, however, important to make older people aware that online security can be very tough when you take the correct precautions.

If you make them aware of technologies like antivirus and anti-spyware, then it should be easier to let them know that these pieces of software are designed to protect you from malicious activity online and when installed will stop anyone accessing their information. Make them aware that a secure password is important and a password manager would help them store all their information which will mean they only need to remember one password rather than hundreds.

Online Banking

One area which may be highly beneficial to elderly people is online banking. High street banking is predominantly used by the elderly to pay in money, take out money and pay any bills. Online banking will actually help them to get things done a lot more easily and may even mean that they don’t need to leave the house on certain days when the weather is bad.

Online Shopping

The same applies to online shopping. Browsing for things online and having them delivered to your door is something that a lot of us take for granted. However, a lot of elderly people are not even aware that it is possible and will still go down to the local shops to purchase items they could get with one click on Amazon. Many elderly people have said to me that they would much rather see the item in the flesh before spending the money, which I can understand. However, it is very easy to send items back that you don’t like due to Consumer Rights legislation. Distance selling means that you can’t be expected to accept the item until it is physically in your possession and you have 14 days to return any unwanted item.

Personal Information Online Is a Worry

There are many sites which you may wish to introduce to an elderly relative, such as Facebook, a great place to keep track of what the grandchildren are up to. These sites obviously require you to input personal information such as date of birth, emails, etc. that people can see if they need to. Having this information online for the world to see is a worry to many elderly people, especially when they hear news stories of agencies such as the NSA and GCHQ tracking everyone’s movements online.

Privacy is a big concern with social networking sites and mobile phones. This may be one area which is hard to persuade elderly people to get online. No-one can be fully anonymous online and your information is likely to be listed somewhere online and accessible by someone, whether maliciously or not, this is a scary thought that doesn’t just affect elderly people.

Health Issues

Using a computer can be tricky for elderly people, even healthy people. For those elderly people with issues such as arthritis or sigh related illnesses, it can be even harder to get on a computer an online.

In order to get elderly people online, the devices have to be accessible and easy to use, this is why I would refer back to my first point about using a device that is simple such as a tablet. A tablet is the most accessible way to access the internet due to its simplicity.

Take a look at any local broadband deals that may be suitable for any elderly relative of yours.


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