Getting Online – The Benefits of Using the Internet in Older Age
With an increasing number of older people using the internet, our latest Bluebird Care Bromley blog examines the advantages of getting online in later life.
Whilst in previous years older people have been generally less inclined to get online, times are changing. The latest figures from the Office of National Statistics show that almost half of people over the age of 75 have used the internet recently. Online activity from people aged 65 to 74 has also leapt from 20% in 2011 to a staggering 80% in 2018.
As the internet is such a huge part of modern life, older people who are not online can find themselves at a disadvantage, particularly when it comes to accessing services. Helping the elderly population to gain confidence in using technology and get online could transform their quality of life.
The Avantages of Being Part of the Online Community
At a time of life when many people feel more marginalised, disempowered and isolated, being able to access the internet has particular advantages for older people.
Social connections: While the internet is never a substite for real company, for those who are less able to get out and socialise it can help reduce feelings of loneliness. Video messaging, Facebook or email, for example, are all great ways of staying in touch with friends and family, particularly if they live far away. There’s also the option of making new social connections by joining online groups and chatrooms for people with similar interests or hobbies. Another bonus is that finding any local groups to attend in person is easier with a quick internet search.
Accessing services: With many high street service providers closing down and more companies and government agencies moving towards conducting business online, the internet gives older people greater access to a wider range of services. From banking to doing the weekly supermarket shop, having online choices is a real advantage, particularly for those who have physical difficulty getting out and about.
Saving money: To encourage people to use their internet services, many companies offer online promotions and discounts on products and services that can save consumers a fair bit of money. In addition, being able to do internet price comparisons for things like electricity, car insurance and shopping all helps to save a few pennies too.
Information and advice: Whatever information you want, it’s at your fingertips. This can be particularly useful for many isolated older people who don’t have anyone around them that they feel they can ask for guidance. As older people are more likely to live with a health condition, access to online advice and information from health charities or the NHS website is especially important.
Boosting your brain: Regularly using the internet can help maintain cognitive function in older people. Reading online newspapers, doing puzzles, connecting with loved ones or just searching for information all help to stimulate the brain.
Maintaining independence: As people age, they are more likely to need help from others to live daily life, but this loss of independence can be very difficult. Access to the internet enables people to be less reliant and to retain more control and independence in later life.
It’s Never Too Late to Get Online!
OK, so the digital revolution isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and we recognise that many older people may lack the skills or confidence to get online. But with so many advantages to becoming internet savvy in older age, we’re here to help. After all, supporting people to get the very best out of life and maintain their independence for as long as possible is at the heart of Bluebird Care Bromley’s philosophy. Our homecare team are always happy to assist our customers with living life to the full!
If you’d like to know more about the homecare and live in care services we provide, just get in touch! You can call us on 020 8315 0236 or use our quick online form, if you prefer.
Further information: Age UK Bromley & Greenwich run computer classes for older people in the area. Click here for more information!