Inger Rarick joined us on our November 8th show to discuss bridging the Digital Divide Â between Seniors and younger generations. A specialist in healthcare technology, Inger works with older adults and their families and is the co-founder of FamiliLink, which provides care and support to aging loved ones by including them in the digital loop.
The Digital Divide
The Digital Divide is the gap between the younger generation more quickly embracing Â Â technology than the older generation. In addition to young peopleâ€™s natural inclination to adopt the next new thing,Â computer and internet technology focuses exclusively on the needs of the young often ignoring the needs of seniorsÂ As it becomes increasingly important to staying connected the older generation is Â excluded not just from technology but also participating in society as a whole.
Seniors mainly use the Internet for:
- Staying connected via email â€“ which is what 90% of Seniors utilize the Internet for.
- Reading and staying connected by reading news online.
- Learning about health related information.
- Online banking, shopping and other chores that Seniors canâ€™t do due to mobility issues.
But Seniors face unique challenges while surfing:
- Small lighter-colored fonts that make the website look â€˜prettyâ€™ but vision impairments make it difficult for a Senior to read.
- Pull down menus that require a steady hand to activate.
- Website designers making navigation unfriendly sites that confuse Seniors who are unfamiliar with them.
- Unfamiliar with computer preferences that may help a Senior make fonts larger or compensate for a shaky hand and mouse.
Inger shared with us several resources to make the computer and surfing easier for Â Seniors. Some of them include:
Software & Applications
Big Screen Live: Downloadable browser specific for seniors.
Crossloop: Tool for family tech support across the miles.Â It allows you to share your screen privately with someone else who can help you navigate through computer challenges.Â And it allows you to do it from afar.
FamiliLINK: Easy to use website for older adults to stay connected to friends and family.Â At FamiliLINK a senior will get their own free email address and all your friends and family can send photos and video and messages to you at your FamiliLINK email address This allows the senior to easily be part of the digital loop without having to navigate consuming websites,download Â images, or follow confusing links.
Go Computer: a Senior Specific computer
Keyboards: There are many different options but this article on computer keyboards for seniors discusses the layouts available and the positives and negatives of each layout options.
Security & Privacy Issues
Inger also talked about security and privacy when using the Internet.Â With more and more people signing on to Facebook (the largest users of Facebook are now women over 40) itâ€™s important to remember:
- Sharing your photographs may no be longer private. Depending on you and your friends privacy settings; photos may now be public and viewed by anyone.
- Your actual location can now be displayed on Facebook. Again check you privacy settings and adjust as necessary.
Also always look out for phishing emails and scams. Remember banks will never email its customers asking for personal information. If you receive an email from what appears to be your bank or credit card company donâ€™t click on the link. Delete it and if necessary call your bank for more information and to alert them that your account may be compromised.
If you have further questions about Seniors and technology or the program, FamiliLINK, Inger Rarick can be contact directly at: irarick@familiLINK.com
Listen to a podcast of the entire show on seniors and technology.