Help People Evaluate Health Media With Trust It or Trash It

The moment a person needs health information, the inclination is to Google it, even though there are much better places to visit — places that offer high-quality and reliable health information. A Google search does not guarantee good quality information — especially when it comes to health information, and due to sponsored advertisements and what I call pseudo health websites, a search may actually send a searcher in a wrong direction. Moreover, these days television ads, infomercials, and online ads seek to grab and hold people’s attention, and it’s difficult to figure out what’s a good source and what’s bad.

Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 12.16.34 PMThe good health information issue becomes even more critical for aging parents and elders, who often have many health concerns. Each day pharmaceutical advertisements and self-improvement ads bombard older adults with sales info disguised as health support. When they do Google searches, they encounter carefully groomed advertisements that may swoop in and look trustworthy. It can be difficult for a person of any age to tell what information is really useful and what information is just trying to get attention … and money.

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Help Elders Understand More: A History of the Way the Web Works

After breakfast three seniors work on three different digital devices.

After breakfast three seniors work on three different digital devices.

My parents and other elders often ask me questions about the Web — the way it works, how it really got started, how it’s evolved, and how why it changes so much.

I have the answers to many of these questions and willingly take the time to explain, but often wish I could hand the questioners something to read. Each of my  answers teaches an individual one time. By providing an article or other resource that can be consulted again and again and is eminently readable, I offer a person the opportunity to learn or relearn over and over.

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Cyber Seniors Documentary: Well Done!

This afternoon at the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) conference in Washington, DC, I saw clips from a documentary, Cyber-Seniors, about teenage volunteers in Toronto who work with elders — people in their mid to late 80s and older — and the rich clarity of their interactions. Many of these people retired before computers appeared in any significant way into the workplace.

The movie, which travelled around film festivals, has already screened in more than 80 viewings around Canada and the United States — with more to come. It shares special moments, difficult moments, looks of wonder, moderate shock (usually at what grandparents see on their grandchildren’s pages), and the excitement we all feel when we learn something new. And yes, sometimes it’s funny. Cyber-Seniors has garnered lots of good press. (I do wish, however, that people in the media would stop calling elders “cute.” You media folks will grow older some day andhttp://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_26931356/magid-exclusive-amazon-fire-phones-fight-ebola-west-africa you WILL NOT appreciate being labeled as cute.)

Here’s a clip of a teenage mentor teaching a woman to take a selfie.

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iTunes Scam — Watch Out

Screen Shot 2014-09-07 at 5.09.54 PMIf you use an iPhone or iPad, be aware that an iTunes scam resurfaces from time-to-time and is again making the rounds

People may receive an email that claims to be from the iTunes store. I got it a couple of days ago. The email points out that an individual’s iTunes account has been used to make possibly fraudulent purchases, and it may even include an invoice to show the person what purchases have been made.

Naturally the scammer invites people to simply click on a link to fix things and solve the problem, but the link leads to a site that looks like iTunes (sort-of) but is fake. The person is then asked for account info, etc.

Don’t be fooled!

Here’s what Apple has on its website about this kind of Phishing               Continue reading

Older Entrepreneurs Start More Successful Businesses Than Younger Ones.

Photo Credit: Bruce Moon via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Bruce Moon via Compfight cc

Check out this interesting article, To Save the Economy, Teach Grandma to Code, posted at the PBS News Hour website. Appearing on the Making Sen$e section of the site, the article by Vivek Wadhwa, points out that most businesses in the United States are aging and that one of the biggest and underused resources these businesses have is older workers. How, he wonders, can we use older workers more effectively and help them learn new skills? Perhaps, he suggests, we should consider teaching older workers and aging adults to code (to use a programming language).

Wadhwa, an entrepreneur and academic at schools including Stanford, Duke, and Emory, writes that to be successful, people who start new businesses need to be able to see the big picture, understand the changing world, and demonstrate how to solve bigger problems. Older individuals already possess the vision to come up with solutions that solve significant problems if they learned how to code — rather than merely inventing yet another social media platform.

It is not that difficult to teach older workers about entrepreneurship and coding and to encourage them to use their seasoned experiences to create new businesses or improve older ones. Wadhwa points out, “We must first get over the myth that older workers can’t innovate.”

Best Quotes From This Piece            Continue reading

Is There a Digital Divide Among Seniors?

seniors and tech border

Adult children who want to help their aging parents learn to use more technology may want to read the April 2014 Pew Internet organization report, Older Adults and Technology Use.

This fascinating document, freely available online, describes various groups of technology-using seniors and explains how they use or do not use computers and devices. It also offers some reasons why older seniors, especially, slow down in their use of computers and digital devices as they age.

What’s interesting to me is that less of a digital divide exists between seniors and the rest of the younger adult population, and more of a digital divide exists between higher and lower-income seniors. Also the researchers found that after age 75 technology use tends to drop off significantly for many elders.

Most Interesting Findings                Continue reading