Brenda Lyle – Florida Today
Q: The Internet seems overwhelming, where do I start?
A: Aging adults are increasingly using smartphones, iPads, fitness watches and more. Even octogenarians are venturing online! Don’t be intimidated –here are a few basics terms and tips.
Getting on the internet
To use the internet, the internet must first be available to you. Cable television and landline phone service providers can connect your home to the internet. A smartphone “hotspot,” provides the user with an internet connection through their phone’s data plan. Many businesses offer free “Wi-Fi,” providing internet access for their patrons. Okay… now that you are on, let’s go!
Where do I go?
A web browser is an application for accessing websites, and your device usually has one built in. Often, search engines like Google or Bing are on your home page, or the main screen you see when you start your device. Search engines allow you to use the internet like an encyclopedia. You can literally find anything just by typing in a few words! However, the old caveat, “Don’t believe everything you read” — applies to web pages, too. It’s always fun to start by putting in your own name and seeing what’s online about you.
Fun Sites for Seniors
You’ll soon realize why they call it the World Wide Web (that’s where the www… comes from). There are websites for healthy living, financial advice, travel information, current news, crafts, and social sites like Facebook.com. Olderiswiser.com is a website with multiple categories relevant to seniors! Sixtyandme.com is a fun website (primarily geared toward women), with information on aging, health, beauty and dating. Speaking of dating… there’s a website for that, too! SeniorMatch.com is an online dating site for adults over 55. Find music and clips from tv shows and movies on Youtube.com, where you can also watch a “how to” video on everything from gardening to faucet repair. Or check out free online classes available through the Virtual Community Center at AARP.org.
Trusting seniors are often the target of Internet scams. Be VERY careful about giving out personal information. Sites like Medicare.gov and ssa.gov (Social Security Administration) will verify your identity before allowing you to proceed with an online account. Once you start browsing, ads will appear onscreen, related to the content you have viewed. Be mindful of what you click, as online shopping is one of the most common ways an identity thief gets your information. But you don’t have to shop to enjoy using the Internet. Check your local library for computer classes and help getting started.
One Senior Place is a marketplace for resources and provider of information, advice, care and on-site services for seniors and their families. Questions for this column are answered by professionals in nursing, social work, care management and in-home care. Send questions to AskOSP@OneSeniorPlace.com, call 321-751-6771 or visit One Senior Place, The Experts in Aging.
Brenda Lyle is a Certified Care Manager and Certified Dementia Practitioner with One Senior Place, Greater Orlando.