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Seniors Online: Oh, the Places They’ll Go! - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Seniors Online: Oh, the Places They’ll Go!

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While seniors 65 and older grew up without the Internet, many of them have been quick to log in and learn. About 53 percent of this group surfs the Web, according to the Pew Research Center.

It can be a good idea to get the laggards online, too. Technology can open doors and keep minds active.

Social media is an especially important tool for remaining engaged with family and friends, says David Ritterling, owner of Visiting Angels home care agency in Pueblo, Colorado, which provides private, in-home living assistance to seniors.  It's especially helpful for seniors who are isolated.

Voice and video calls using the popular Skype and Facetime applications are a great way to keep seniors in the loop and feeling close, says Ritterling.

“When family and grandkids are too busy or far away to visit, those are great ways to look into people's eyes and actually connect and have a dialogue,” he says.

Ritterling gives the following advice for making sure mom, dad and other older relatives are connected and comfortable navigating the Internet:

1. There's no reason to avoid technology and many reasons to embrace it. Be patient with elderly relatives and introduce one or two things at a time, such as email. Then use it to send mom and dad family family photos and newsy messages to brighten their day.

2. Introduce older relatives to websites that will interest them. Does mom love crafts or Southern cooking? Does dad love model trains or coin collecting? Show them how to search for those sites and mark a few that they enjoy and can go back to. Seniors, like everyone else, enjoy getting their news online; introduce them to the online versions of their favorite magazines, newspapers or other news sources.

3. Talk to older relatives about the many conveniences of being connected. On-line bill paying, shopping and ordering groceries, for example, may allow them to stay in their own home longer and maintain independence if they aren't as mobile as before.

4. Make sure older relatives have someone who can set them up on the computer and other devices, and then is available for questions. Visiting Angels has a “Silver Surfer” program, where trained caregivers set up clients' computers, cell phones or other devices, then teach them about e-mail, texting, Facetime and other ways to communicate with family, friends and the outside world. Many local senior centers, libraries and other agencies offer computer classes for seniors, too.

5. Introduce older relatives to other technologies that can make their lives easier. GPS and home monitoring and alarm systems and health tracking software can be enormously helpful in keeping loved ones more secure. Medication reminders can be sent via text message, phone or email, which is especially helpful for those taking a number of prescription meds.

6. Tablets and iPads can be gateways to enjoying music, photos, online classes and books. Fonts and backlighting can be adjusted for aging eyes; check these features out before buying. Look for smartphones with larger buttons, voice recognition and larger fonts to make them easier to use.

7. Be sure to talk to mom and dad about online safety. Remind them to be extremely cautious about providing financial or other personal information online.

Visiting Angels is one of the largest, non-medical home care agencies in the country, with 500 franchise locations, and was recently awarded the 2015 Leader in Excellence award by Home Care Pulse, the top firm in quality assurance for private duty home care. Angels provide help with activities of daily living, including bathing and dressing, personal care, light housekeeping, cooking and transportation.

David Ritterling is owner of the Visiting Angels franchise in Pueblo and vice president of franchise development. To reach Visiting Angels in southern Colorado, contact the Pueblo office, (719) 543-4220, or Colorado Springs office, (719) 282-0180, or visit www.visitingangels.com

This article was produced for and sponsored by Visiting Angels, with offices in Colorado Springs and Pueblo, Colo. It is not a product of or affiliated with KOAA News 5.


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    From Our Sponsors While seniors 65 and older grew up without the Internet, many of them have been quick to log in and learn. About 53 percent of this group surfs the Web, according to the Pew Research Center. It can be a good idea to get the laggards online, too. Technology can open doors and keep minds active. Social media is an especially important tool for remaining engaged with family and friends, says David Ritterling, owner of Visiting Angels home care agency in Pueblo, Colorado, which ...
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