Helping Older People Get the Most Out of the Internet

Older people often aren’t quite there with online activities. But having an online presence can be absolutely amazing and can not only help make things easier but also help your elderly loved-one keep in touch with, and feel part of, the family. Use these tips to help an elderly loved-one find their way online.

The first step to getting your elderly friend or family member online is by convincing them that it’s a good idea. Show them what they’re missing out on; Facebook communication as a family, complete with photos of the grandkids, can be a great tool of conviction! You can also show them how much easier shopping could be (think supermarket deliveries) and how simple it is to pay some of their bills online.

Look around on local noticeboards and check with nearby colleges; they often have courses on to build computer proficiency in people who are otherwise inexperienced in using them. Some of these courses will cost a small amount of money, but others are free, so make sure you shop around and find the right course.

A present in the form of a laptop with wireless capability, and careful research into local internet service providers will help, too, as you’ll be able to build an accurate picture of the cost your loved-one will be looking at in terms of getting online at home. This allows you to figure out whether or not they can afford it, or whether you will need to step in and help with the cost.

Which? publish a free computer guide which can help people who aren’t familiar with computers to deal with basic issues and use their computers as well as possible. Alternatively (or additionally), for-dummies guides exist which may make it a lot simpler, too. A rummage in the local library may be all you need, but eBay and Amazon’s Marketplace can help you find good deals, too.

At the end of the day, nothing will provide the same motivation and one-to-one attention that you, yourself can sort out. Sit down with the loved-one in question and show them what to do. Make sure the desktop contains easy shortcuts for the most important bits and set up their email so they can simply click an icon to open it up. As time goes on, your loved-one could well surpass you in terms of computer proficiency, but in the meantime be patient and kind and help them find their way, and soon you may have an unexpected addition to your Facebook friends’ list!

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