Though much of the developed world considers itself “internet literate”, there is one important demographic that is way behind the curve when it comes to the use of the internet in their lives: seniors. Many adult children have struggled with teaching their parents the fundamentals of surfing the web, opening emails, and using the internet to pay for bills. However, usually frustration on one or both sides brings limited success to the initiative.
However difficult it may be, teaching your parents the skills needed to be computer, and especially internet, literate members of our society has become extremely important. It affects both their and your quality of life and in the long term you will reap the rewards of your hard work, especially if you start early on in the aging process. Though we aren’t saying it’s impossible to teach your 90-year-old mother to call an Uber with her smartphone, it’s significantly more difficult than for a healthier version of that lady still in her 70’s.
So, without further delay, here are 4 reasons for which you should struggle to teach your parents or grandparents to use the internet
- It makes them more independent
More and more everyday tasks are transitioning into being done online, sometimes completely so. From researching and booking a flight to your sister’s house for Christmas, to doing their banking, or even scheduling blood tests, there are a lot of things that your parents can learn to do themselves online, sometimes even making day trips for errands unnecessary! Wouldn’t it be nicer to just get a coffee together instead of waiting in line at an office for something that can easily be done online?
- They can learn
Many seniors feel that as they get older, they lose their intelligence. However, often its that they don’t end up learning a lot of new information at that age. Being able to do research on the internet and spend time reading news or information that is interesting to them might give them a new sense of self-worth that you didn’t think they would be able to regain. So now if your doctor says your mom needs to watch out for her cholesterol, she herself can research what she needs to change about her lifestyle without having to wait for you to do it for her. The same goes for your dad learning about the events going on at his country club or new knitting patterns for your Nana.
- Helps Them Dream
After retirement, it’s easy to fall into a simple daily rhythm, one without any real excitement. Being able to access the internet makes it possible for your parents to have dreams and bring them to life. Without ever leaving the couch, they can find condos for sale in Florida and compare condominium listings online, or plan their next trip to Europe. Remind them of all their plans they had for when they retired, and keep them busy with bringing them to life with just the click of the mouse.
- It’s Cheaper
When the family is spread all over the country or even the globe, being able to call your parents through the internet can mean huge savings. There are so many programs and apps that you can use to talk or even video call for free if you have unlimited internet. However, older people just seem to be so much more comfortable with the landline phone, causing a huge inconvenience, and enormous phone bill, for everyone else. Coax your parents into using online applications and programs like Skype, WhatsApp or Viber to keep connected at a lower price.
We know that it will take a while and some dedication to get your parents to agree and fully commit to learning the basics of the internet. However, in times of frustration, remember how this step will improve everyone’s life, including your own.