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Top 5 Internet Activities for Older People

• Written by Josh

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The internet has become a global phenomenon, with many people now wondering how we all coped without it. It's not just youngsters using it for their benefit now either, the older generation are adapting and learning how to use the internet. 

The internet can be a positive thing for older people too. According to statistics, over 70's who use a computer at least once a week are 42% less likely to develop memory and thinking problems than those who don't use computers.

This study, which followed 1,929 participants for around four years revealed the following results:

  1. 193 out of 1,077 people in the computer use group developed mild cognitive impairment (17.9 per cent),
  2. 263 out of 852 people in the group that didn't report computer use developed mild cognitive impairment (30.9 per cent)

These results suggest that using a computer is a positive thing for anyone over the age of 60! Here are some of the internet activities that you could be taking part in if you become a 'silver surfer'.

Social Media

Social media has taken over the world, not only with the younger generation but also with older people. In fact, according to this report on The Telegraph, the proportion of 55 to 64-year-olds using social media passed the 50% mark in 2015. Even more impressive was the fact that the proportion of over 65s who said that they were active on social media had grown by more than 50% in the last year.

But which social media platform is for you? Let's look at the websites on offer and what they actually involve.

Facebook

Facebook is a great way of keeping in touch with your friends and family, either on your computer, tablet or smartphone. Once a profile has been set up, which is super easy, you can begin adding people you know to your friends list so you can stay connected and see what they are up to. Facebook is particularly good for any older person as it enables the opportunity to re-connect with old work or school friends, alongside keeping in touch with grandchildren and children.

Facebook has many features. It consists of a news feed where all your own and your friend's activities show up, as well as any pages or groups that you have 'liked'. On Facebook you can add photos, create statuses, create live videos and a whole host of other activities. It's the perfect platform for staying connected and has over two billion users worldwide!!

Twitter

In contrast, Twitter is another hugely popular platform that focuses on short, sharp statuses. Twitter works differently to Facebook and consists of the idea of creating 'tweets' - which are 140-character long messages, which followers of your account and the whole of twitter can view, comment and like, particularly if you use hashtags.

Both platforms are free to use and sign up for - so if you're wanting to share your voice or re-connect with an old friend or keep in touch with people you care about you should make a profile today. These two websites controlled the social media platform for many years, but there are now other options to think about:

  • Sykpe - Allows people to video chat their loved ones all around the world. This means never having to miss a moment.
  • WhatsApp - Instant messaging and telephone calls on mobile phones, without using voice minutes or texts.
  • Instagram - A place to share photographs. Show pictures of what you care about with your friends and family.

See our top 5 social media platforms for older people.

News Reading

Another internet activity anyone over the age of 60 might enjoy is reading the news. The internet is the place to be for all of the breaking news from around the globe. All the big TV news channels have websites, as do all of the national and local newspapers. Most stories break first on the internet, usually on social media platforms, where news channels can be followed and interacted with.

In fact, many newspapers are putting more content online - The Independent has now becoming an online-only publication. The best thing of all is that apart from a few outlets, all online news websites are completely free for you to read. You can find all the latest UK and world news on the BBC or Sky News websites or you can catch up on all the latest sport by heading to the Sky Sports News website.

No matter what news interests you, the internet is a great way of finding it.

Shopping

If mobility and heavy lifting is becoming an issue when getting to the shops and back, your computer could become a life-saver! All of the top supermarket chains offer online shopping and delivery services. This means that you can do your essential weekly shop from the comfort of your living room. How great!

It's a stress-free option, and I don't have to rely on my family to get my food for me and I still feel independent, and tech savvy ordering online, resulting in more time at home doing the things I love. (Sarah, Yorkshire)

All you need to do is visit your favourite supermarket's website, for example Tesco, and select the online shop or grocery shop option. You can then begin filling your basket with all of your essentials. Once you have finished shopping, you will be asked to select a suitable delivery time.

Prices vary depending on your location and the time slot you wish to choose. The internet isn't limited to grocery shopping either - you can buy literally anything and everything online, with the likes of Amazon and every retailer practically having an online presence, it'd be hard to not source what you need.

If you ever get stuck for ideas what to buy for Christmas or birthdays, the internet is a great alternative to the high street - it's perfect for finding the unusual and outside of the box items for friends, family or loved ones.

 

Games

Perhaps the most enjoyable of all internet activities is the chance to play video games - either on the internet or through a physical disk. Much like using a computer, a similar study found that playing games has also been found to help prevent memory loss. Elderly Gaming is on the rise as well - with one in four people over the age of 55 now having a gaming device in their homes.

Facebook has plenty of community games such as Lexulous which allows the player to go up against people from around the globe. Or you could stick to hardcore gaming and play shooting games like Call of Duty, or motor racing games like Need For Speed - The choice is yours.

Most of the online games come for free, however the disk-based games will more than likely come at a price of around £20-£30 depending on their release date.

See our article of the rise of silver gamers.

Online Banking and Billing

This may not sound exciting, but internet banking makes life much easier. Rather than having to walk into the city centre, or pay for buses, you can simply log-on to your account on your bank's website and sort your finances out from the comfort of your own home.

Online banking allows people to manage their accounts all in one place. You can transfer money to friends, family and to your other accounts with a click of a button. You can also set-up standing orders or direct debits so that you never forget to pay for your mortgage or mobile phone.

Last, but certainly not least, you can also check your monthly statements to ensure that everything is in order. You're also looking after your environment by saying no to paper print-outs of your bank statement.

By being online, you can also pay for bills such as your council tax and electricity bills. All major providers allow you to create an account and manage your payments through their websites, again saving you the effort of having to head down the high street.

See our top finance tips for older people.

Other Online Activities!

In addition to the top five internet activities mentioned above, it's also good to be connected online so that you can complete a number of essential tasks such as renewing insurance, comparing prices, booking appointments and tickets, searching for holidays and doing research into a whole host of things.

The internet is like the modern day encyclopedia, with millions if not billions of pages and pieces of information all at the easy reach for you to access. It's important to highlight no matter when you're online, you should be aware of dangers and take caution. Read our safety guide.

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What's your favourite part of the internet? Do you find it helpful? Share your thoughts below!

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3 Thoughts On This Blog
James Watson says:
22/08/2019 at 10:52

Night classes for senior citizens to use internet Hamilton area

Joyce Shorrock says:
06/01/2020 at 6:44

Course providers for senior citizens. Where can I contact an organisation who can help me learn more about computers and gain the necessary skills?

Sian says:
27/01/2020 at 10:03

Hi Joyce, To get started, we’d recommend contacting local institutions (schools, further education, libraries) to see if any of these offer courses to help improve your skills. Even if they don’t, they should be able to recommend courses that are local to you! Best of luck.

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