Loneliness, Technology and the Elderly

How can the internet help elderly people feel less lonely? What new technology helps elderly people feel safer at home? Learn more in this Q&A.

Why is loneliness such a problem in elderly people?

Some people find it harder to get out and about in the advancing years either due to ill health or just the fact that every day gets harder. The knock-on effect is that their social meet-ups with people may be limited to once a week, whereas it might have been more often before. Their children, now grown up and left home, possibly have families of their own and therefore getting to see the parents becomes less and less viable as they have their own lives to lead.

How can the internet help elderly people feel more connected?

The internet can help people of all ages keep in touch. Whether it is through social media, messaging services or even internet calling. The other side of the world is no longer a distant destination but now a video call, a voice call, an email, or even a picture message away. And, with advances in technology, it is now affordable to keep in touch. The internet can also bring the high street to your door. You can order your groceries on a Monday and have them delivered on a Tuesday, you can book a flight, order a taxi, even at your destination without leaving the comfort of your armchair. If you miss your favourite show, then watch it on catch up, download it to mobile device and watch it at your leisure even when out and about.

Is it true that all elderly people can’t use computers?

It is not true at all. Elderly people are now being encouraged by their families to get online. If someone doesn’t feel comfortable using a mouse then get them playing a game on the computer and soon they will pick up how to use it and how to interact.  A tablet is easier as you use your finger to open applications, or type so there is less to master. Operating systems like Android, or IOS, are becoming simpler with each upgrade and are offering more functions than before, plus offer cross compatibility so software you use on your phone will be the same on your tablet.

Is it true that elderly people can’t use mobile phones?

A mobile phone nowadays is an extension of a tablet. You navigate in the same way around the phone using your finger. There are easier to use devices available, which tend to be limited in functions but easier to use. But, if you feel confident, try a touch screen phone—it will offer you more features.

Why is it important for elderly people to have a broadband connection?

Broadband is important these days not for just communicating with friends and family, but also, it can control your home, secure your home, or even watch your home with IP cameras—it would be reassuring that if your relatives were far away and they couldn’t get hold of you they could instantly log on and ensure you were ok. You can program your heating from your chair. You can even see who is at your front door before pressing a button and letting them in.

Are there any services that can help elderly people understand how to set up their broadband?

There are plenty of books available and some authorities do hold training, but if they get stuck then a call to their provider should be sufficient to get them going again.

How can telecoms technologies help older people feel more independent?

Technology from telecom companies gives back your independence. You are not restrained to your house; you can leave your house and still be in contact with friends and family. In addition, you are always contactable so you can feel relaxed to go for a day out and not have to worry.

Can certain devices help relatives of the elderly know when their loved ones are in need/danger?

Wearable technology is the new buzzword, and there are devices that can be worn. And, when in need of assistance, help can be summoned by pressing a button. Some watch devices can monitor your heart and provide an alert if it finds there is something wrong. Watches on your wrist also encourage you to get up and move, hit the steps goal, or tell you when to stand if you have been sitting too long. They will also link with your phone or tablet and can call a loved one. IP cameras can allow family with the correct passwords the ability to see into your home to check you’re OK, and they can even let people in via security door locks.

How else can we help elderly people feel less lonely?

Friends and family should stay in contact more with the elderly. A call makes a difference to someone; a video chat with the grand children can make the worst day ever better. An email with a video attachment will provide a person with something to treasure and look back on at any given moment.

How difficult is it to get elderly people to adopt new technologies?

Different people adapt to technology at different speeds. One person could master a tablet in no time at all and yet another may need a bit of patience and handholding. You should not worry or panic if it goes wrong. You cannot break the internet and you can always reset the tablet, computer, phone, or laptop and go back to the start. But, from experience, once they have got past their fear of doing something, they fly.

POP Telecom was incorporated in 2011, and is part of a group of companies that have been trading for over 20 years and have a well established & experienced team to ensure the service you receive is second to none!

It is one of the fastest growing telecommunication companies in the UK today, with an ethos of Simply Communicating by Communicating Simply. Its aim is to make the journey of joining and benefiting from our LAND LINE, BROADBAND & MOBILE owned networks simple and clear. Find out more at https://www.poptelecom.co.uk/dear-dr.

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