The Senior’s Guide to Online Safety

connect-safely-for-seniorsAdult children often find themselves providing technology support services for their aging parents. Now there’s a new, research-based resource to help.

The Connect Safely organization has recently published The Senior’s Guide to Online Safety. The publication contains important information, it’s free, and it’s simple to download as a PDF file. Adult children may want to print the booklet and share this short and easy-to-read guide.

The Seniors Guide to Online Safety addresses a range of issues that are critical for senior and elder adults to consider and understand as they go about online activities. The guide includes safety and privacy tips, information on a range of scams, guidance about securing wifi, and advice about protecting identify and financial information. The goal is to educate older adults with information that comes from experts.

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When Scary Virus Messages Appear on Your Aging Parent’s Screen…

Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 9.12.20 PM

This is an example of a warning. I did not have the presence of mind to make a screen shot.

Adult children who support aging parents and their personal computers need to be aware of a threat that can pop up on a computer anytime and cause major problems if a person does not understand how to handle the threat. Our parents need to hear about this potential problem.

The other day I was working on my computer, visiting the website of a noted author, when suddenly my screen turned to white and a voice repeated over and over that I had a virus.The recorded voice told me to use a telephone number that I was to call immediately to get my computer fixed. I hadn’t opened any attachment and, I was not visiting any questionable or unsavory website.

Now I am a technology geek. I’ve trained students and teachers on technology and curriculum topics for years. My computers and devices are all well-protected. But this message scared me, and even with all my training and experience, I kept rereading the message and wondering what to do. And that voice kept repeating the message…

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Will On-Demand Services Change the Way We Age?

photo credit: IMG_1642 via photopin (license)

photo credit: IMG_1642 via photopin (license)

A great article in the December 14, 2015 Washington Post, The On-Demand Economy: Changing the Way We Live As We Age, explains how many new online services such as food delivery, rides on demand. and home services are making life much easier for elders who want to remain independent as long as possible. Most of these connect with easy-to-use smart phone apps.

The article authors, Luke Yoquinto and Joseph Coughlin, are affiliated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) AgeLab, a group that connects new ideas with technology and aims to improve the health and quality of people’s lives, especially as they age.

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Dad’s New iPad: How We Decided What to Buy – iPad for Dad #25

iPad II

This picture has the old operating system. I’ll take a screen shot of his new iPad  once it is up and running.

I finally figured out what iPad model to purchase for my 90-year-old dad as a Christmas 2013 present, and I thought I’d share my decision-making process here, just in case others are dealing with the same conundrum. My mom is under strict instructions to keep him away from this blog (he is a regular reader) until mid-day on December 25th.

Deciding what to buy as a replacement iPad took quite a bit of time and energy, mostly because a range of models are available at a range of prices. Below are some of the factors that contributed to my decision. At the end you can find out what we bought for dad’s Christmas present.

iPad Keyboard – Dad has an easy-to-use keyboard. He sets the iPad right into the 30-pin port and begins typing. His speaker system for music connects the same way. The newest iPad models come with the smaller lightning to USB connector. To change connections, he would need to change keyboards. Moreover, the newest keyboards are all bluetooth, and I really did not want my dad to have to add keeping track of bluetooth to his digital iPad tasks. We searched for keyboards that would connect the same way as his older one — just with smaller connections, but they just aren’t available.                         Continue reading

Technology: It Even Transforms Elders

Visit Aging Online for a post about seniors and smartphones.

The other day, at a pre-Mother’s Day weekend event, I sat in a room with hundreds of seniors — mothers, grandmothers, dads, grandfathers — and guess what?  A good many of them had smartphones.

I was amused to observe, that a fair number of people in that large room were texting or at least checking their smartphones for various reasons during the event — something I’ve not seen in a large senior gathering until now — although many of their children and grandchildren do it routinely.

I observed that many of the seniors worked hard to check their phones discretely, much more so than their children and grandchildren.

For me this is one of those sentinel moments that highlights the transforming 21st Century digital world. Our world is changing, it’s increasingly connected, and everyone, even some of our older moms and dads, is learning how to use a digital gadget.

I expect that many of these seniors use their phones to keep in touch with family and friends and a fair number of them were taking pictures. I’ll also posit that some of them have health apps that they consult on a regular basis.

Check out the Aging Online blog for some interesting statistics on seniors and smartphone use.

My Mom Gets an iPhone, #1

Like lots of other people this fall, I bought a new iPhone, the 4s model. My old 3G iPhone, which works just fine, went to my mother.

My mom likes to look things up, something that smartphones do easily. She has envied family members with iPhones and Androids, starting a year or two ago right after Thanksgiving dinner, when many of us had such fun grabbing our phones to discover answers to obscure facts that no one could remember. It was lots of fun, and my mom wanted to play, too. That was when she first dreamed of owning a smartphone.

Before signing her up for an access plan, the two of us decided to try an experiment.

Since Christmas Mom has used the iPhone as a wireless device around the house and at other places where the wireless can connect, such as Panera. It can’t make telephone calls, but otherwise it works just fine. She uses it to search the web, keep her calendar, check email, play solitaire, and enter names and addresses into contacts.

For the time being she uses her old mobile phone to make calls, but now my mom is ready to use the iPhone for real.

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