More than 80 percent of seniors in Canada 65 to 69 years of age are regular Internet users, according to Statistics Canada. The Web is also used by more than 60 percent of Canadian seniors who are 75 to 79 years old and 40 percent of those 80 and older. If your senior parent is regularly online, it can certainly be a good way to learn new things and stay connected to friends and family members. However, there are some risks to be aware of as well, which is why you’ll want to keep your parent safe online by keeping the tips discussed below in mind.
1. Make Sure Everything Is Updated
Updating mostly applies to PCs and older laptops, since smartphones, tablets, and newer laptops tend to automatically update when powered down. The reason updates are important is because it’s easier for hackers to steal data if software is outdated. Not having updated software also increases the odds of being affected by a virus.
2. Set Privacy Settings
Even when newer devices and online accounts have privacy settings, remind your parent to make sure those settings are turned on and set up properly. Don’t assume they’ll automatically be on and functioning as intended. If it’s not clear how to do this, do a quick online search to find instructions (e.g., “how to set privacy settings on iPhone 11”).
A home caregiver can monitor your loved one’s activity when you need to take a break from your caregiving duties. Some seniors need occasional assistance at home, and oftentimes the family members who take care of them need time away to run errands, take a nap, go to work, or take a vacation. Calgary respite care experts from Home Care Assistance are available on an as-needed basis, giving your family peace of mind that your loved one will remain safe and comfortable while you relax or focus on other important responsibilities.
3. Remind Your Parent to Post Wisely
Setting social media accounts to “private” doesn’t mean posts can’t be seen publicly if your parent’s online friends share them. For this reason, remind your loved one to be smart about what he or she posts online, which means avoiding sharing posts that include:
• Photos that clearly show his or her address, license plate number, or other personal information that may be misused
• Specific dates when he or she will be out of town or away from home
• Identifying details like last name or specific physical locations
4. Encourage Appropriate Precautions with Emails
Older adults are often targeted by email scammers. Reduce this risk for your parent by reminding him or her to be cautious with incoming emails. Basic email safety rules include:
• Not opening emails from unknown senders
• Contacting the sender if an email has an attached file to make sure the individual (a) actually sent the email and (b) attached a file to it
• Not clicking on links in emails that are clearly spam
• Using a spam filter to reduce exposure to questionable emails
• Making sure anti-virus software is up to date in case an email with a virus is accidentally opened
If your loved one has been diagnosed with a condition such as dementia or Alzheimer’s, his or her online activity may need to be supervised closely, and a home caregiver can help. Families looking for top-rated Calgary in-home care providers can reach out to Home Care Assistance. From respite care to specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones.
5. Help Your Parent Pick Strong Passwords
It may be tempting for your parent to use his or her date of a birth or another easy-to-remember number combination as a password. However, such passwords are also easy to crack, especially if specialized programs are used that rapidly try various number combinations. Instead, remind your parent to keep the following password guidelines in mind:
• Use a different password for each online account or website that requires one
• Create passwords with a mix of characters, numbers, and symbols
• Use encrypted password manager tools to conveniently and safely keep track of passwords
Using the Internet safely is just one of the issues aging adults must navigate in today’s modern world. Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality elderly home care. Trust Home Care Assistance to help your elderly loved one age in place safely and comfortably. If you need professional home care for your loved one, our Care Managers are just a phone call away. Reach out to Home Care Assistance today at 403-301-3777.