This article was contributed by Shannon Lochwood
Online shopping has grown in popularity because it is convenient and easy to order the products we need. But older generation who may not be as familiar with the technology used to shop online oftentimes run into issues like scams or unreliable websites. This makes online shopping a little more dangerous for older people. Fortunately, elderly people can also enjoy online shopping if they are careful and have the assistance they need. Here are some of the benefits online shopping has for the elderly as well as some ways to make it safer for them.
Benefits of Online Shopping for the Elderly
One of the most important benefits of online shopping is the independence it provides for elderly people. This is especially true for adults who have mobility issues, such as those who use walkers or wheelchairs. Elderly people with mobility issues have a difficult time navigating shops and finding transportation, but online shopping provides a solution to both of these barriers. With online shopping, elderly people can order the products they need and receive them without relying on anyone else. This helps elderly people feel like they're still able to participate in the world without asking for help, which can improve their mood.
2. Saved Time
Shopping online saves us time that would otherwise be spent travelling to a store and finding the product. But it isn't uncommon for elderly people to take more time shopping than younger people. This means that online shopping may save your elderly relatives even more time than it would save you. With online shopping, elderly people have more time to spend with loved ones or running errands.
3. Saving Money Online
Online shopping is also generally cheaper than shopping at physical shops tends to be. This is because many of the typical costs it takes to maintain a brick-and-mortar shop are unnecessary for eCommerce businesses. For example, an online retailer doesn't need to pay for a shopfront to be lit during business hours. And those savings are usually passed on to the consumer as an incentive for shopping online.
Additionally, many of the discounts older people have become accustomed to when shopping are available online. Chances are, many of the shops that your elderly relatives regularly shop at also have an online store that offers them the same discount. They'll also be saving money by buying less fuel for their car.
Ways to Make Online Shopping Safe for the Elderly
1. Familiarise Yourself with Technology
The easiest way to make online shopping safer for your elderly relatives is to be familiar with online shopping yourself. More specifically, you should be familiar with your relative's online shopping habits so that you can ensure they are acting safely. Ask your relative what they usually shop for online and where they buy their products from. If they're entirely new to online shopping, then show them a few online stories that you know are safe. Remind elderly members of your family to never follow any suspicious links or give up any personal information online. Spam emails can be dangerous for elderly people who struggle to differentiate a genuine service from a scam. Encourage them to ignore just about everything that gets marked as spam.
2. Research Retailers Before Making a Purchase
Elderly people sometimes struggle to differentiate sketchy websites from reputable ones, making online shopping potentially dangerous. If an elderly relative wants to order a product from an online retailer that you don't recognise, do some quick research on them. Make sure that they are a website that you would feel safe purchasing a product from. Look for a secure sockets layer (SSL) certificate somewhere on the checkout page of the website. An SSL encrypts personal information from both sides of an online transaction, making it incredibly difficult to hack into.
3. Look for Safe Shipping & Delivery Options
One of the many pitfalls of online shopping is overpriced shipping options that inflate the cost of online shopping without providing much value. While people who shop online frequently may be aware of this, it can still catch less experienced online shoppers off guard. Elderly users need to be especially careful that they understand the shipping options available to them and select the most efficient choice. Some shipping options charge a constant shipping rate for any package under a certain weight. This avoids elderly shoppers from overpaying for shipping and delivery.
4. Keep Your Passwords Protected
Many of the accounts we use online have access to sensitive information like credit card numbers and bank account numbers. If someone with bad intentions were to get their hands on this information, they could do some serious financial damage. This is why it is paramount to protect the passwords associated with any account that has access to sensitive information. Do not let your elderly relatives use a single password for every account. Instead, encourage them to keep a written log of their passwords in case they forget them. This way their accounts are all safe and they have easy access to their passwords - just be sure they keep this log somewhere safe.
Safety in the Home
It's not only whilst online shopping that your elderly loved ones need to stay safe. Their physical wellbeing is just as important. A personal alarm from Lifeline24 provides extra peace of mind around the home. In the event of a fall, they simply press the button on their pendant alarm; if they opt for our fall detector plan, an alarm will be raised automatically.
Choosing Lifeline24 means benefitting from 24/7 coverage, 365 days a year, provided by our TSA-Accredited Response Team.
This article was contributed by Shannon Flynn of rehack.com
Technology isn't going away any time soon. Would you find that more acceptable if you knew that embracing new retirement tech could help you or a loved one remain independent for longer? One of the following retirement tech trends could be just what you need to stay connected with loved ones and stay healthy.
1. Smart Homes
Smart home technology has come a long way in the last few years and is now more accessible for most income levels and age groups. A majority of people now live in homes with at least some form of smart device. Voice-controlled assistants like Alexa and Google Home are the most common. Since 2019, adults over 55 in the UK have increased their ownership of smart speakers from 19% to 45%.
This technology can allow older adults to live in their homes for as long as possible, avoiding assisted-living accommodation. Smart home tech trends can enable users to control their lights, thermostats, and televisions through an app or their voice. Some products can even show who is at the door and unlock it for you.
The best part is that all these separate devices can be attached to a smart speaker for easy accessibility. The upfront costs of adding smart accessories care significantly less than those of hired homecare or residential care homes.
2. Health Devices
It seems that every year new wearable health devices hit the market. Not all of them stick around, but the ones that do have the capability to be life-changing and freedom-giving. These products range from smartwatches to medicine dispensers.
Smartwatches are so common now that no one would think twice about older adults wearing them. They can keep track of vital signs and alert a loved one if something seems wrong. Fall alerts are another essential feature to look for in a wearable device. One in three adults over 65 will experience a fall every year.
Some medicine dispensers are now automated. Incredible tech trends like these can make remembering necessary prescriptions much easier. The best models will unlock only when it is time to take the medication, and will only provide access to one compartment at a time. An alarm will also go off when it is time to take your medication. If you fail to take your pills within a reasonable amount of time, some smart medication dispensers can send alerts to family members to check that nothing has gone wrong.
Health devices aren't just helpful for family members. They can also keep medical professionals in the loop between appointments. Monitoring vitals and other valuable medical data outside of traditional visits is just one way telehealth can benefit retirees and older adults.
Those who have difficulty finding transportation to their GP, or who have mobility constraints, may find virtual health appointments more beneficial. Routine visits can be just as effective online as they are in person. However, it is worth keeping in mind that using private telehealth apps will likely involve a fee. Fortunately, some GPs do offer telephone or video appointments.
Telemedicine is even an option if you don't own video-capable technology. Most providers are willing to offer certain appointments over the phone. If you need something examined and you don't have the capability to do that at home, you will still need to find a way to go to a doctor in person.
Chronic conditions are much easier to monitor with these retirement tech trends. Doctors and families can help keep track of important data. This service gets even better when paired with capable wearable technology. Older adults with diabetes can avoid constant finger pricking with insulin devices attached to their arms. As technology advances, telehealth will likely become a regular aspect of checking on patient health.
4. Emotional Wellness Technology
Most assisted-living tech trends involve the field of physical well-being, but emotional wellness shouldn't be discounted. Depression is an unfortunately common condition among the older population for several reasons. Adults who are isolated from family members for long periods or who have difficulty with the movements that make daily living easier are especially at risk. Over-65s living with dementia are also more likely to have depression.
Technology may be able to help. Basic devices that enable users to video chat with family and friends can make them feel less lonely. Knowing they can contact a loved one easily can also bring comfort to anyone wanting to continue living on their own as long as possible. Video devices can also help older adults feel more connected and bring them in on memorable moments, from baking cookies virtually with grandkids to watching the wedding of a loved one.
Some companies have even created robotic pets that don't require any care but will respond to their name and move around like a real animal. These pets are a great source of comfort for older adults who want companionship but would struggle with the maintenance a real pet requires. Robotic pets are already helping adults with dementia.
Peace of Mind Through Retirement Tech Trends
These retirement tech trends can help retirees stay in their own homes for many years and improve the quality of life for older adults in assisted-living environments. Smart devices can bring peace of mind to loved ones who know they will be alerted if anything is wrong. Elderly adults will feel comforted knowing they can go about their lives while still being connected to family and friends.
Another example of telehealth devices are personal alarms. A personal alarm allows you to call for help at the press of a button. When the alarm is activated, an alert is sent to Lifeline24's 24/7 Response Team. They then arrange support in the form of emergency contacts or the emergency services.
This article was contributed by Ivan Serrano
Saving money and keeping track of your finances can be difficult. This is especially true for elderly people who may not be accustomed to the technology that younger people use every day. Fortunately, there have been apps created specifically for the purpose of helping the elderly keep track of their finances. Many of these money-saving apps were made with people over the age of 65 in mind. As a result, they have features that make them easier for some older people to use. These include larger fonts and intuitive controls. Here are some general tips for managing your finances as an elderly person and some apps that can help make it easier.
Get Your Finances on Track
According to the Financial Lives Survey 2020, people aged 65 or older have on average around £1.3k of debt. Therefore, it is so important to keep track of your finances diligently. Many credit unions have partnered with firms that specialise in credit union strategic planning to make this easier on you. In fact, your bank may even have an app that can make it easier to track your finances, make transfers, and keep records of your expenses.
Tips for Planning
Understand Your Responsibilities
If you ever feel overwhelmed by the responsibility of tending to your finances, remember you aren't alone. You may have a family member, loved one, or financial advisor that can help you recognise your responsibilities. These people can act as financial caregivers that can help you organise your accounts and stay up to date on your finances. Asking someone you trust for help can ensure that your finances are managed responsibly and transparently.
Speak About Finances Often
Make a habit of regularly discussing your finances with someone you trust. This will make it easier for you to consider how you want to maintain control of your finances in future. Ask yourself questions that give you a clear idea of your financial goals. What do you want to save for? What is important to you financially? How do you feel about your current budget? Questions like this will make it easier to decide what the next best steps are for your finances.
Avoid Red Flags
Though the internet is an important tool that has added a great deal of convenience to our lives, there is unfortunately a dark side to it. Scammers are more common than most people believe they are, and many of them target people over 65. We advise that you are cautious when dealing with internet prizes, loans, or investments that sound too good to be true. You should also consult with someone you trust before making any major purchases or investments. Don't be pressure or intimidated into immediate decisions. Scammers use a sense of urgency to prey on unsuspecting people. You can find more advice on our "How to Avoid Phishing and Scams" article.
Plum is a fee-free autosaving app great for a large target that will help you track your spending. It gives you the option to round up your purchases, helping you save the change. With the app you can set saving goals and easily withdraw when this goal is reached. It is simple to use, and by linking to your bank Plum can analyse your daily spending. Another benefit is that there is no minimum or maximum deposit.
Chip uses open banking technology to analyse your income and spending, calculating exactly what amount you are able to save. The app offers you two types of plans according to your needs: a free plan, and a premium ChipX Plan for £3.00. The award-winning AI will move your money automatically, making it simple and easy for older people to save.
Monzo is categorised as a bank on your smartphone that helps you manage your money. Some of the key features of this app include:
- Salary sorter
- Spending budgets and saving pots
- Free withdrawals and no transaction fees
- Loans up to £15,000
- Three different plans
Like Plum, Monzo rounds up your spending and the difference is added to your saving pot.
Moneybox allows you to use your money for saving, investing, home-buying, or retirement. With only £1 to get started you are able to track the performance of global companies and investments. Shawbrook Bank is partnered with Moneybox to provide their clients with a savings account with a deposit up to £85,000. You can also buy a home using Moneybox Lifetime ISA and save £1,000 each year. Alternatively, you can invest in your future, combining your old workplace pensions in one account. You can then calculate how much money you can have for your retirement with their pension calculator.
Using these money-saving apps to support your finances isn't the only way technology can support the elderly. A personal alarm from Lifeline24 provides additional peace of mind whilst supporting independence at home.
When you purchase a Lifeline alarm you are benefitting from 24/7 coverage, 365 days a year. A simple press of a button puts you in touch with our professional Response Team who can arrange help for you in moments.
Technology has come a long way over the last 20 years or so. For example, the internet has opened up so many doors for people of all ages, making it easier for everyone to shop, work, and learn. Most young people find it easy to use modern technology because they have grown up using it. Older people, on the other hand, are generally less inclined to use modern technology. Some older people might not see the ways technology could benefit them, especially if they've never used the internet or a smartphone before.
However, since the pandemic began, we've all become a lot more reliant on technology to communicate with our loved ones. In this blog post, we'll look at some examples of technology that can help older people. We'll be explaining how each piece of technology works and the benefits it can offer you. This is our simple guide to technology for elderly people in the UK.
Are Older People Using New Technology?
Older people are embracing modern technology more than ever before. In fact, according to recent research, 77% of over-65s used the internet at home in 2020. According to the same findings, recent internet use among women aged 75 and over had more than doubled since 2011.
Recent internet use in the 65-74 age group has increased from 52% in 2011 to 83% in 2019, which means older people are closing the generation gap in technology usage. Older people aren't just using their computers either. They're branching out into mobile phones and tablets too.
According to Ofcom's Adults' Media Use and Attitudes report 2018, more than a quarter (28%) of people over the age of 75 now use tablets - an increase of 15% from 2015. The 2020 report found that 21% of over-75s have a social media account. The majority of older people favour Facebook as their social media platform of choice.
Although these reports are promising, there are still plenty of older people who feel intimidated by technology. We believe there is plenty more to be done to help boost these numbers even further. Technology classes designed specifically for older people are a great start. It's important that older people are able to pick up new technology at their own pace with whatever support they may need, rather than just assuming that everybody knows how to use it all already.
When it comes to modern technology for older people, the internet might seem like a daunting place to start. However, an understanding of the internet can make such a difference to your life. The worldwide web is still relatively young, which means older people haven't had the chance to grow up with it the way younger generations have.
The BBC Web Wise website defines the internet as:
"A network of computers that works much like the postal system, only at sub-second speeds. Just as the postal service enables people to send one another envelopes containing messages, the internet enables computers to send one another small packets of digital data."
The internet opens up a whole range of opportunities for older people. With an internet connection you can:
- Order your weekly shop to your front door.
- Video chat with your friends and family.
- Share updates and photographs on social media websites.
- Play games with friends - keeping your brain active in the process.
- Organise your bills and bank accounts.
- Watch TV shows and movies through streaming services.
The possibilities are endless. The internet can help to prevent boredom, keep you connected with friends and family, and help you to stay organised. To make the most of your internet connection, it's worth checking your current broadband speed. A faster connection will let you see videos and images in better quality. It will also reduce the time you spend waiting for web pages to load. Broadband UK has a free internet speed test - if you want to use the internet to download music, films, or television shows, you'll want a speedier connection. So-called superfast broadband gives you around 30Mbps (megabytes per second) or higher.
Some older people have concerns about the security of the internet. While it is definitely wise to keep security in mind, this shouldn't be a barrier to the worldwide web. For more information, read our guide to internet safety here.
Although teenagers and young people are the most common users of mobile phones, it would be wrong to assume that older people don't use them too. In fact, 65% of over-65s in the UK personally use a smartphone, according to a 2021 survey.
Mobile phone technology is becoming more important for older people as society moves away from traditional landline phone connections. Despite what you may assume, mobile phones and smartphones need not be complicated.
If you don't want all the bells and whistles of high-tech smartphones, go for a simple handset like a Doro. There are plenty of devices that have been designed specifically for elderly people. The most common type is the big button phone. There's nothing fancy about these phones. They have big buttons, making them easier to use for people with arthritis or sight issues, and clear bright screens with big font sizes. Other simple mobiles include useful accessories such as a torch.
On the other hand, if you're looking to make the most of modern technology, it may be worth buying a smartphone. These devices allow you to download a range of great apps to help you stay safe, entertained, and connected to your friends and family. 'App' is short for application, which is a kind of computer program. Essentially, apps give people access to information or games without having to visit a website. This makes the process simpler and quicker.
Examples of helpful mobile phone apps include:
- Zoom - A video calling app that makes it easier to see your children, grandchildren, or loved ones no matter where they are around the world. The app is free to download and works using your mobile phone's data or Wi-Fi.
- what3words - Gives every location on earth a unique three-word address. Great for emergencies, if you need to tell emergency services precisely where you are.
- Pill Reminder Pro - An app that will sound an alert when it's time to take your medication. It will also tell you which medication you should be taking at this time.
- Pocket Physio - Developed by Care UK, this app gives advice on the workouts you should be doing to keep yourself fit and healthy.
- Various Games - Challenging games to help keep your brain active, which helps to delay the onset of dementia. Search for crosswords, sudoku, and lots of creative new puzzles.
Your family or friends will certainly be happy to teach you how to get to grips with a smartphone. There are also online guides to help you understand your new phone. Have a quick search on Google or YouTube to find helpful tutorials. To ensure you stay safe with your new device, please see our guide to preventing mobile phone scams.
Since the launch of the iPad in 2010, touchscreen tablets have become very common in UK households. Tablets are essentially a midpoint between laptops and mobile phones. They have been designed so that you can pick them up and surf the internet in seconds. No more waiting for your laptop or PC to start. No more having to sit with a heavy laptop overheating on your knees.
Most tablets look similar to their mobile phone siblings, whether they are based on the iPhone or the Samsung Galaxy. Some tablets even come with a detachable keyboard, just in case you're uncomfortable using the touch screen. You can also buy special pens to use instead of your fingers if you wish. Some of the benefits of owning a tablet include:
- Bigger Screens - Perfect if you have any vision issues.
- Amazing Apps - You can watch movies, play games, and chat with friends over a video call - all from the comfort of your sofa.
- Affordable - Tablets are generally cheaper than laptops and desktop computers.
- Great for Gaming - Through the app store you can download and play many games with your friends.
- Mobility - Tablets don't weigh much and they are a decent size, making them incredibly portable.
The software on most tablets is simple to use and to understand. In fact, if you already own a mobile phone from the same company, you probably won't even need to look at any instructions.
As we all know, staying fit and healthy is very important, no matter your age. However, staying active is especially important for older people. After all, the healthier you are, the more chance you have of avoiding common medical conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.
Modern technology can help older people here too. There are now various fitness devices that can help you monitor your daily activity and track your progress. Fitness trackers are worn around the wrist like a watch or a lifeline pendant and will monitor your activity throughout the day.
Most fitness devices can track the following:
- Daily steps.
- Calories burned.
- Heart rate.
- Sleeping patterns.
Some devices, such as the Fitbit Surge, come with GPS technology and can connect to your Android or Apple mobile phone. Some devices are also waterproof so that you can use them while swimming, with battery life ranging from three to five days.
A fitness tracker will help you from the moment you buy one, as it will give you the motivation to get out there and start adding to your steps. It is quite common for people to set up challenges with their friends and family, to see who can reach a certain target first.
We've already talked briefly about some of the apps you can download for your mobile phone and tablet. Now, let's take a closer look.
There are countless apps available on both the Android and Apple marketplace. Common types of apps include:
- News Apps - All major newspapers and TV news outlets have apps to help break news stories quicker and to help you find the news you're looking for.
- Weather Apps - It's always good to have the forecast at a click of a button.
- Games - There are so many games to choose from. Playing games will prevent boredom and help you keep your brain active.
- Social Media - Stay in touch with friends and family through Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, or Zoom.
- Shopping - More and more high street shops now have their own apps. This makes it even quicker to place an order without leaving home.
- Music, Film & TV - There are plenty of streaming apps to choose from. Streaming is a way of transmitting data from the internet directly onto your device without needing to download it. Popular examples include BBC iPlayer, Netflix, and Spotify.
Apps can make life much easier, but they are also great for your safety. There are many apps designed specifically to help older people stay safe at home. There are various healthcare apps that can help you manage your medication. You can set alarms that make a sound and tell you which part of your medication you need to take throughout the day.
There is a huge marketplace for health and mobility technology for older people. For example, look no further than our life-saving personal alarm systems. Our service allows older people and disabled people to continue living independently in the comfort of their own homes.
By wearing a Lifeline pendant around your neck or wrist, you are ensuring that you can get help immediately if you feel unwell or suffer a fall. Our Response Team operates 24/7, 365 days a year to ensure that help is always available.
Health monitoring can also be very reassuring for lots of older people. For example, people who have suffered from heart problems can have a heart rate and/or blood pressure monitor in their home. This piece of technology can take heart rate and blood pressure measurements so that you, your family, and your carers/doctors can check on your condition.
Some other great examples of mobility technology for older people include:
- Stairlifts - Stairlifts help you get up and down the stairs with ease, without the risk of falling. Installing a stairlift is a great way of staying safe at home.
- Scooters - Mobility scooters are great for people who struggle to walk long distances. A scooter is ideal if you have arthritis, osteoporosis, or Paget's disease of bone. Most scooters also come with a basket for you to store your shopping bags.
- Electric Wheelchairs - Alternatively you can purchase an electric wheelchair in order to get around. By having an electric wheelchair you don't have to waste energy wheeling yourself, nor do you require somebody to push you. This gives you more independence.
Technology for Older People
We hope that this blog post has opened your eyes to the technology that's out there for older people. All of the technology we've mentioned can help older people to improve their physical and mental well-being, as well as their social lives.
Apps and social media can help to prevent loneliness, whilst the internet can help make it easier to shop and to manage your bills. If you struggle with mobility, scooters and stairlifts can help ease strain on your joints and muscles.
As previously mentioned in this article, one of the bests bit of technology for older people is the Lifeline alarm system. For more information on our life-saving personal alarms, please speak to one of our friendly advisers on 0800 999 0400.
Alternatively, complete our contact us form and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
Editor's Note: This article was updated on 20th April 2022 to reflect the latest information.
This article was contributed by Shannon of rehack.com
There's no denying that the world we live in has become increasingly digital. New technologies, such as 5G wireless tech and artificial intelligence (AI), are emerging annually. Therefore, all types of people must learn how to leverage them and reap all the benefits these technologies have to offer.
Below, we will discuss the concept of digital inclusion, the existing digital divide, and the importance of digital inclusion and literacy for older adults.
What is Digital Inclusion?
It's important to note than the concept of digital inclusion arose due to the ongoing "digital divide" people are experiencing worldwide.
According to the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) in the US, digital inclusion is necessary to ensure that individuals and communities, especially the disadvantaged, have access to the internet and Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).
Five elements are included in digital inclusion:
- Affordable, robust internet service.
- Quality technical support.
- Internet-enabled devices to meet the user's needs.
- Access to digital literacy training.
- Applications and online content that encourage self-sufficiency, collaboration and participation.
Digital inclusion requires constant development as technology advances. Thankfully, knowledge of digital inclusion is becoming more prevalent. As a result, there are now plenty of ways older people can build upon their digital literacy skills.
What is the Digital Divide and What Populations Suffer Most?
The use of digital tech is increasing across almost every sector in the economy. Many companies are now adopting a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy. The BYOD market is expected to reach an estimated $300 billion by 2022, and many businesses are adapting to this growing trend.
While businesses are keen on making their digital transformation, not all populations can do the same. This is contributing to what has been named the "digital divide". There's a wide gap between people who have continuous access to the internet and those that do not. Older adults are considered a disadvantaged community regarding widespread tech adoption.
So why does it matter? The digital divide can have severe consequences for those who lack access to internet services, mobile phones, and other digital technologies. Being excluded from digital services such as online banking, paying utility bills, and even barriers in applying for jobs can negatively impact individuals and their quality of life.
For example, more than 8 in 10 middle-skill jobs require digital skills. This is a 4% increase from 2014. Additionally, as people adopt new technologies, others can feel excluded and isolated by not participating in increased adoption. Essentially, those who lack access to digital skills cannot fully participate in many aspects of society. This includes quality education, as well as economic opportunities and successes.
How Older Adults Can Become Digitally Literate
Overall, the ultimate goal of digital inclusion is to encourage older adults to overcome their initial embarrassment of not knowing how to use technology. It offers workshops, training programs, and classes specifically designed to help them improve their digital skills.
For example, the non-profit AARP recently joined forces with a New York-based organisation called the Older Adults Technology Services (OATS). Their goal is to help older adults thrive in a digital world.
AARP also launched the "AARP Virtual Community Center", which is an online destination for older adults. There, they can find online classes and events designed to support their digital self-improvement. Older adults who want to become tech-savvy should consider visiting this online community centre.
Below are some specific steps older adults can take to improve their digital literacy skills:
- Learn the core technologies used in society, including desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and iPads and smartphones. Start with the basics and practice as often as possible.
- Understand what can be done with technology, whether it's refilling prescriptions, managing finances, connecting with family and friends using video conferencing, using email, playing games, listening to music, shopping, and downloading or watching videos, movies, or TV shows.
- Visit Generations On Line, a website that helps older adult beginners learn to use devices such as iPhones, iPads, and Android and Amazon products.
- When searching for broadband internet, visit uSave to compare deals for the elderly.
- Visit the local library to pick up how-to books, which provide instructions on how to get started using various pieces of technology.
- Consider visiting TechBoomers or GCF LearnFree to receive assistance with new technology.
Learning how to use new technology offers plenty of benefits. Moreover, there are many online and offline resources available for older adults looking to improve their digital literacy. For those interested in receiving support for devices they already have, consider visiting HelloTech.
While using new technologies may seem daunting at first, relying on younger family members or friends can also be useful. Don't be afraid to ask questions and take notes to refer to later.
Providing Access to Digital Technology for the Elderly
How can caregivers, family members, and friends of older adults support digital inclusion?
Be Patient and Understand the Digital Learning Curve
Anyone working with older adults needs to be patient. Learning how to use digital tech and the internet cannot happen overnight. There's a learning curve older adults are contending with as they improve their digital literacy. When working with older adults, try to be patient and take time to answer their questions about technology. Furthermore, make sure they understand the basics first.
Be a Digital Inclusion Advocate or Volunteer
Some organisations are working tirelessly to close the digital divide amongst older populations. Consider making monetary donations or choose to volunteer. This may help some older adults improve their digital skills and literacy. Many areas likely have classes to assist adults with digital learning, so do some research to find them and discover how to get involved.
Digital Inclusion is Necessary in a Digital World
Ensuring that everyone has access to broadband internet and can adapt to new technologies is critical. Surprisingly, many people worldwide still lack basic access to new technologies. This is despite the fact that new technologies are becoming increasingly ubiquitous. Older adults, caregivers, and family members should prioritise digital inclusion, as it's becoming increasingly necessary in a tech-savvy society.
Peace of Mind from Lifeline24
Even the most technophobic older people can benefit from a Lifeline alarm. These simple devices are activated at the press of a button, putting you in touch with our trained Response Team. They offer additional peace of mind to those who are elderly, disabled, or frail. To set it up, all you need is a power socket and a phone line.
It is a sad truth that there have always been unscrupulous opportunists in the world. From snake oil salesmen to street corner conmen, this class of criminal tries to trick you into parting with your well-earned money. Online, their method of choice is phishing scams. Therefore, it is important to know how to avoid their carefully laid traps.
What are Phishing Scams?
Phishing scams are a type of cybercrime that have become increasingly prevalent as digital communication expands. These changing methods mean that scammers are using digital phishing scams now more than ever. They involve criminals posing as reputable companies or people to gain access to your accounts. There are several ways in which these cybercriminals try to trick you, including phone calls, text messages, and emails.
When cybercriminals target you for phishing scams, their goal is always to take something from you. They may even lock you out of your accounts to cover their tracks.
The Impact of Phishing Scams
Cybercrime and fraud can lead to massive financial losses. Sometimes these can be lifechanging, resulting in debts or even bankruptcy. Other times people can lose access to valuable data or have their accounts shut down. Furthermore, the stress of falling for phishing scams can have a negative impact on mental health.
In the first half of 2021 alone, criminals stole more than £750 million through online fraud. Thanks to intervention by the authorities – and savvy internet users – they were blocked from stealing a further £736 million in the same period.
Types of Phishing Scams
There are several types of phishing scams that you may be targeted by. All are designed to convince you that they come from a genuine source. Their goal: to trick you into sharing personal information or sending money to a scammer’s account.
If you have an email account, then chances are you have seen at least one example of email phishing scams. These can come in a variety of forms. Some will pose as your bank, others as a business you have bought from in the past, and there will be some that look like regular adverts. Popular choices with scammers are PayPal or Amazon. What they all have in common is asking you to click on a link.
Often these email phishing scams will try to appear official and urgent. They may tell you that there has been a problem with your account, and you need to log in to fix it. Clicking the link may take you to a fake version of that company’s website where you will be asked to enter your email, password, and possibly other personal data. Instead of being logged in, however, you will be giving your details to scammers. Alternatively, it may trick you into downloading a harmful file containing a computer virus.
In other cases, you may be asked to update your payment details. This will often be connected to an email claiming you haven’t correctly paid your taxes or there has been a problem processing an order. Similarly, when you fill in your banking details you are actually giving that information to scammers.
Text and Messaging Phishing
Also known as “smishing”, phishing scams by text involve scammers sending you a text message (SMS). They may also try contacting you by direct message on social media or on WhatsApp. This message will contain a link or ask you to call back using a phone number. Like email phishing scams, a “smishing” attack will try to appear as a genuine contact. They may pose as your bank or as a mail delivery service like Hermes, for example.
Most text and messaging phishing scams will try to trick you with urgency. They will pose as the fraud team or tell you that there is unpaid postage on a package. Their plan is to put you under pressure, so you do not take the time to think about the content of the message. In other cases they may pose as someone you know or a celebrity you follow and invite you to follow a link.
The links in these texts will lead you to fake pages. In some cases, they may also cause viruses to be downloaded onto your device. Like email phishing scams, the pages you open may ask for personal information. Similarly, if you are asked to call a number, the person at the other end will pose as an employee of the company and ask for account details. You may also be asked to provide card details.
Have you ever received a phone call claiming you are owed compensation for an accident you didn’t have? You may have been a target of voice phishing scams. Also known as “vishing”, these scams are well-coordinated, often involving teams. They will pose as a genuine customer support service, claiming that there has been an issue with your account, or you are owed money.
Like other forms of phishing scams, the goal of “vishing” is to trick you into sharing personal information. They may also request that you send money or provide them with bank details. They will generally follow scripts designed to sound as official as possible.
As part of a “vishing” scam, cybercriminals will use a combination of time pressure and the reassurance of talking to a person to convince you to cooperate. They may even talk you through an online process. In some cases, they may have multiple people who talk to you, implying they are part of a customer service team. This is all designed to convince you to share your personal information with them.
In some cases, voice phishing scams are also attempting to record your voice. They will get you to provide the answers to your security questions so they can call your bank and pose as you. Always be suspicious if someone starts asking for personal information over the phone. If you are unsure, hang up and call using the official number on the company’s webpage.
Identifying Phishing Scams
Millions of scam messages are sent out every day. Most are ignored or reported. However, scammers only need to trick one person to be successful. Therefore, it is important to recognise the signs of phishing scams so that one person isn’t you.
One of the tell-tale signs of phishing scams is poor spelling and grammar. Because cybercriminals send out so many fake messages every day, they do not tend to take the time to proofread their emails and text messages.
There are other signs, however, that may be marginally more subtle. Scammers will try to make their emails and texts look as genuine as possible. However, you can usually find hints that they are fake in the sender’s email address. Often, scammers will be using free, disposable accounts to perform their phishing scams. If you receive an email claiming to be from Amazon, for example, but the email address ends in “gmail.com” or “hotmail.com”, you can be confident that it’s not genuine.
It is important to check email addresses carefully, however. Some scammers create fake domains for their phishing scams. Sometimes these will appear very similar to the real name. They may write “PayPa1” rather than “PayPal”, for example.
If there is a sense of urgency in a message it is likely to be fake. Companies tend to try to stop you from panicking rather than scaring you into action. If in doubt, you can always type in the web address yourself or contact the company using their official information. This is a safe way to check whether there is an issue with your account.
Finally, you should always be suspicious if there are attachments or links in an email.
Recent Phishing Scams to Be Aware Of
Unfortunately, cybercriminals are always thinking of new ways to catch people out. They will stop at nothing to get their hands on your money. As technology evolves, and our methods of communication expand, new fraud techniques are certain to emerge. Here are some of the most recent methods they have been using.
Royal Mail Texts
The pandemic saw a major increase in online shopping, which proved to be an opportunity for scammers. A popular method has been sending fake Royal Mail texts claiming there has been a problem delivering a parcel. Most often they will claim that there is postage that needs to be paid for or they will ask you to visit a fake redelivery page.
The most significant red flag here is that Royal Mail do not send texts for unsuccessful deliveries. Nor do they request payments by email or text. The only time you will receive a text asking you to make a payment is if there is a customs fee on something you have ordered; in this situation, you will receive a grey card in the post as well.
If there has been an unsuccessful delivery, Royal Mail will leave red card through your door with instructions for arranging redelivery. Never click on any links in these messages.
TV Licence Scam
In recent months, scammers have been trying to use our TV Licences as a source of income. A series of emails have been received by people across the UK claiming that they have not paid for their TV Licence, or that they are due for a refund. According to these emails, all you have to do is follow a link and fill in your bank details.
The reality is that TV Licensing will never process your licence fee in this way. Furthermore, there are certain things they will not ask for. TV Licensing ask that customers pay close attention to the sender of any emails: genuine emails will be from “firstname.lastname@example.org”.
TV Licensing also include your name and part of your postcode in official messages. Scam emails, in general, are much less personal and will address you as “Dear Customer” or similar.
You can find more information on avoiding the TV Licence Scam by reading TV Licensing’s "Helping you avoid TV Licensing scams" guide.
WhatsApp Impersonation Scam
Sometimes it seems there truly is no limit to how low cybercriminals will stoop. One of the most recent methods of choice has been impersonating loved ones to ask for money. This has been particularly prevalent on WhatsApp.
Users across the UK have received messages claiming to be from their sons and daughters. They say they have a new number, and then ask for money, claiming that they have been locked out of their accounts and need to pay a bill. In some cases, they create scenarios involving bailiffs to increase the pressure.
These phishing scams are designed to capitalise on the parental instinct to help our children. However, even if the message seems urgent, always contact your loved one by other means before doing anything. It is important to confirm that they are who they say they are. Ask for a voice message, or for them to call you, to make sure.
Omicron Contact Scam
Scammers are also quick to latch onto modern crises. As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, cybercriminals have started sending out fake track and trace messages. These phishing scams claim that you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for Omicron. As a result, you need to follow a link to arrange a PCR test. You will be asked to provide banking details to pay for this test. However, this link is not real, and is in no way affiliated with the NHS. Moreover, the NHS will never ask you to pay for tests.
It is yet another example of the insensitivity of scammers. In a time where families have lost loved ones, they are still attempting to capitalise on grief and fear.
How to Report Phishing Scams
When you receive a scam text or email, you may be wondering what to do next. Do you just delete it and move on or is there somewhere you should send it?
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) investigate cybercrime such as phishing scams on behalf of the government. Their goal is to track down the scammers and put them out of business. You can help them accomplish this by reporting any scam messages you receive.
Phishing emails should be forwarded to email@example.com and texts should be forwarded to 7726.
If you are concerned that you have been the victim of an online scam or fraud, you can call 0300 123 2040 for help.
What to Do If You Think You've Been A Victim of Fraud
Vigilance is key when it comes to phishing scams and avoiding fraud. Unfortunately, sometimes we still get caught out. A scam may be particularly convincing, we may just be having a bad day, or we may even click on something by accident. The important thing is not to panic.
Your first step should always be "damage control". For anything relating to your bank, contact them as soon as possible. Your bank will be able to protect your account and keep your money safe. If you have transferred any money, inform the police immediately on 101. As soon as you recognise that you have given away personal information, update your login details on your accounts. Taking these steps will minimise the risk of scammers stealing information or money.
If you think one of your accounts may have been hacked, the National Cyber Security Centre have a step by step guide to recovering an online account.
You should also inform Action Fraud of any scams you encounter, especially if you think you are a victim. They can be called on 0300 123 2040 or you can report the scam using their website.
In the event that you have accidentally downloaded a malicious file, scan your computer with your antivirus. This will locate the malicious file and delete it before it does any further damage.
For additional support and advice in the case of fraud, you can call the following helplines:
Safety at Home from Lifeline24
Avoiding phishing scams isn’t the only way to stay safe. Your physical wellbeing is just as important as your finances. If you are having trouble moving around at home, or just want some extra peace of mind, a personal alarm from Lifeline24 could help.
With our personal alarm service, help is always the press of a button away. If you have a fall or feel unwell, activating your pendant alarm will alert our professional Response Team. They will then arrange for your emergency contacts to attend your property.
For additional reassurance, why not consider our fall detector plan.
To find out more about Lifeline24’s personal alarms, check out this detailed guide. If you have any questions, please call 0800 999 0400 to speak to our friendly customer service team. Alternatively, you can contact us using our simple form.
Finally, be sure to read through our blog for more helpful and interesting content.