Silver surfers: Internet for the Elderly
Last year more than three times the amount of over 65’s used the internet than in 2006 with many now using the web for their banking, shopping, entertainment, and social interaction – so called silver surfers. However over 5 million older people have never accessed the web.
Reports suggest 60% of the UK’s over 65’s are still ‘digitally excluded,’ and a significant number of older people are missing out on the wealth of opportunities the internet can bring. Digital access offers not only significant savings – online shopping saves the average consumer £560 a year – but can also help to tackle wider social issues such as isolation and loneliness. Online services can empower older people enabling them to live independently for longer.
Below are the top five reasons to get your loved one online:
- Money management
As more and more services, including government services, become online only there has never been a more important time to become digitally savvy. Research shows online savers can be 37% better off over the course of a year and the internet offers access to a wealth of product choice, money management tools, comparison sites and banking services.
- Keeping in touch with family and friends
Using email and apps like Skype make not just speaking but also seeing friends and family the easiest it’s ever been! No matter where they are in the world your loved one can keep in touch with all the special people in their life, which is especially helpful if travelling is difficult. Using social networks, sending emails and participating in online hobby groups or shared-interest forums can help to keep them connected. Our exclusive online Family-Connect-Programme means you can stay in touch with your loved one, wherever you may be. You can access daily visit updates and monitor your loved one’s progress 24/7 so you don’t miss any memorable moments. Find out more here.
- Maintaining independence
Groceries, household appliances, clothes and Christmas presents for the family are now all just a click away. Online ordering enables older people, who might be house-bound or have limited mobility, to retain a sense of independence; they are able to have control over their choices, improving quality of life.
The internet can also be a powerful tool for health management. Research shows that those who use NHS Choices online feel more empowered, confident, and have increased knowledge about their health. In addition, there are an increasing number of wearable devices that link to apps which can help people to track a whole range of health indicators from heartbeat to steps taken and calories.
- Entertainment and brain training
Most of your loved ones’ favourite games and past times such as crosswords and Sudoku can be downloaded to tablets, laptops and computers and can provide endless entertainment as well as being great for keeping minds stimulated and busy. Reading is an excellent past time to keep the mind sharp but as our eyes age reading can become more difficult. In this case, e-books can be easily downloaded onto lightweight tablets such as the Kindle and are available in extra-large font. Other great apps to download are brain training games that can help with memory and learning.
Age UK help people get to grips with IT and the internet and run computer training workshops at various locations across the UK. Age UK West Sussex is situated at 2 Anchor Springs, Littlehampton, or alternatively, you can find a centre nearest your loved one here.