Right now, 86% or more of adults under 65 use the internet every day, while only 56% of those over 65 do the same. This becomes a problem as we consider how important technology is becoming in everyday life, especially in the wake of quarantines and all sorts of distance programs! Nobody wants to be excluded, and nobody wants to be the one constantly asking younger family members how the technology works.
Here are some of the top issues that senior citizens face when trying to confront technology, and some suggestions on the best way to tackle them and combat technological alienation.
1. Poor health and long-term conditions can interfere with the ability to make use of technology
Things many younger people take for granted – reading, typing, clicking, scrolling – are all much more difficult for those who are more prone to conditions like poor eyesight, arthritis, and the like. These issues shouldn’t prevent you from using the internet as much as anyone else, though! Your settings can be modified to help you.
Your browser (the Google Chrome, Safari, or another program you use to go on the internet) or even the operating system (that’s your version of Windows or iOS) is modifiable to make everything more extensive and easy to see. If you’re using a tablet or smartphone, you can usually make a gesture like a pinch on the screen to zoom in, too. If none of this works, a quick search of the internet can find lots of software to help make things bigger.
There are also voice recognition options built into most browsers and operating systems. These tools are specifically designed to prevent you from having to type or click, instead of letting you use technology with only your voice!
2. Lack of internet access leading to missing out on important news and information
The spread of COVID-19 was caught and guarded against so quickly, partly because of the use of social media to spread the news instantly. Surveys estimate that 52% of seniors believe they aren’t missing out on anything by not using the internet, but that’s not true at all – right now, we’re using it for everything from work conference calls, to schools, to staying in touch with loved ones we can’t otherwise see.
Try finding your childhood home on Google Maps, or starting a video call with a friend in another city. You’ll be amazed at what you can do!
3. Worries about online security
Everyone has heard about online identity fraud, and it’s not silly to be worried about it as you approach the digital world. You need to learn some of the common tactics that email and social media scammers use to try to trick you out of your data and hard-earned cash! Emails with titles like “your account will be closed if you don’t respond”, “doctors can’t believe this new health trick”, “you have won!!!” and many others are usually scammed to try to get your information. There are plenty of resources on and offline to help you prepare for these traps, and teach you how to defend your technology if you do accidentally click on the wrong link.
4. Distrust of online signatures
It can be quite daunting to consider just how much has moved online, even signing contracts! Don’t worry about the legality though: in almost every country in the world, e-signatures are just as valid as so-called “wet signatures” by law! Esigned documents can stand in any court of law like any other signed paper document.
The other concern, as banks, businesses, and even state agencies are bringing everything online. is that systems for signing can be complex and confusing. Luckily, electronic signatures platforms like Foxit eSign aka eSign Genie are explicitly designed to work smoothly and intuitively for new and experienced users alike!
All documents are HIPAA, ESIGN, and other law-compliant, and can be uploaded, viewed, and signed in a couple of easy steps. You can even save a signature from being used for future use, and sign them using any device from anywhere, making it very adaptable to your busy life!
One of the many advantages of using an electronic signature is the fact that it is affordable and requires less effort. You will not have to go to an office supply store to buy a package of standard, 8.5 x 11 white printer paper. Then go home to print, sign, scan, and email the document.
While the cost of an overnight express envelope varies depending on carrier and distance, the real cost isn’t in dollars. The real cost is in the lost time, needed to process everything.16