This year has been an isolating time for many, and without the internet, video calls and technology it could have been much worse. Unfortunately, that is the reality for many elderly people up and down the country, who are less likely to have internet access and have been cut off from friends and family. That being said, there are ways that you can help. If you’re wanting to stay connected with the less tech savvy people in your life, here are our top tips.
Get connected to the internet
Helping a vulnerable person get connected to the internet is one of the more trickier things to manage during lockdown; however, it will help them to feel more connected to the people they love whilst social distancing is still in effect. There are a number of internet providers which offer deals for elderly people, or those receiving Pension Credit, which can make getting a person connected much more affordable. You can find details of these here.
Invest in a tablet
For seniors, we’d recommend a tablet over a smartphone or laptop. They often offer higher resolution, larger screens and if equipped with a good cover, are much easier to grip and manipulate than a smaller device. There are a number of different options available (check out the Guardian’s roundup here) but most of all we’d recommend a device you feel familiar with, so that you can help your friend or family member easily.
Consider some training
For those who feel able to, going through some basic training around the internet and how to use it can be incredibly useful, particularly if this is a brand new experience. BT are offering free courses under their Skills for Tomorrow initiative. Under Home Life, there is a series called Basics for Absolute Beginners; some of which have the tag ‘Assisted Learning’. These are ideal for people getting started with this technology for the first time.
Practice a video call
It might be that the benefit to getting started with the internet and a new device is the socialising aspects, so you should prioritise messaging and video call apps. This will help a person stay in touch regularly and offer face to face contact with people that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible. Practice a video call with them (if you can adhere to social distancing guidelines of course), or talk them through the process over the phone.
Be their tech support
Just like anything else, learning to use the internet and each new application is something that needs practice, and support. If you can, set up their device to make things as easy as possible; increasing text size, consolidating the apps they need and looking at the voice commands offered by the device are all useful. If you can’t be there in person, offer telephone support to help your loved ones get the most out of their devices.
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