Let the internet make your life easier at this difficult time
Not too long ago many older people were quite comfortable sitting back and letting someone else programme the VCR or set up their voicemail recording.
The mere suggestion that they should learn to “Google”, or get an e-mail address or a mobile phone was dismissed as foolish talk.
Why did young people ever think they needed all those fancy things?
Order something online? Why on earth would anyone ever need to do that when you could just get your nephew to drive you to the store to choose for yourself?
And then the pandemic reached our sunny shores, and everything stopped. It left many older residents, who had become dependent on others for assistance with their daily lives, more isolated and vulnerable than ever before.
On the upside, the recent health crisis and shelter-in-place mandate has prompted a growing number of entities to begin to offer (or expand) the variety of virtual services that are available to island residents. A few examples include:
• Depending on who your doctor is, it is possible to phone, text, or video chat when you have a medical concern
• Local businesses and service providers including insurance companies, banks, opticians, and grocery stores are easily able to assist seniors who have internet access
• Pharmacies offer e-mail prescription renewal request service and, in some cases, home delivery
• There are now online workout videos specifically for seniors available from local fitness instructors, as well as on YouTube
• Free online meeting apps such as Zoom and Skype make it possible to connect with friends and family around the island or around the world without ever leaving the house
• The Bermuda National Library has online access to its catalogue, a digital collection of books and newspapers
• The Bermuda Arts Centre at Dockyard is holding digital art shows and The Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art regularly sends out an e-mail which provides glimpses of Bermuda paintings in its collection
It goes without saying that there is also a large variety of free, or very low-cost entertainment — from concerts, to sporting events, to movies and church services — available online that is suitable for all ages.
If you still need convincing about just how much internet access can enrich the quality of your life as an older adult, consider the following facts that were compiled from a variety of online sources:
• Globally, 62 per cent of seniors over the age of 65 who are online, use Facebook
• Almost 90 per cent of Facebook’s daily active users come from outside North America
• 350 million photos are uploaded to Facebook every day, with 14.58 million photo uploads per hour, 243,000 photo uploads per minute and 4,000 photo uploads per second (that’s an awful lot of images of puppies and grandchildren)
• As of autumn last year, 70 per cent of seniors in America were connected to the internet and using a variety of online platforms to stay informed, connect to friends and family, shop, make travel plans, and make reservations for travel
Yes, accessing anything online for the first time can seem daunting and confusing, but with a little practice you’ll get the hang of it in no time and know that a visit with family is just a few clicks of a button away.
• Robin Trimingham is an author and thought leader in the field of retirement who specialises in helping corporate groups and individuals understand and prepare for a new life beyond work. Contact her at www.olderhoodgroup.com, 538-8937 or email@example.com
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