Protecting the Elderly Online

Senior citizens are more active and involved than ever before. These days, the Golden Years are spent living much the same lifestyle that seniors enjoyed before retirement. Most seniors are now wired to the internet, and while this makes it easy to shop, stay in touch with family, and find information, it also opens them up to being victims of fraud. The elderly are especially vulnerable to Internet scams, as they tend to be more trusting and less informed. However, there are ways to help protect your parent or loved one.

A Senior on the Computer

Knowledge is Power

The number one way to help your elderly parent stay safe on the web is to educate them. While younger generations have grown up with the internet in our homes, our parents did not. They aren’t savvy about much of what goes on online. By pointing out the types of scams and fraud that they are likely to encounter on the web, you can educate your elderly parent and arm them with ways to avoid being taken advantage of by scammers.

Spend some time sitting at the computer with your parent. Visit snopes.com and show them how to use it to find the latest scams making their way around the net.  Show them examples of the fraud they’re most likely to see. Because seniors use email more than any other feature of being online, show them Nigerian scam emails, investment schemes, and lottery scams. Knowing about these common emails before they seem them in their inbox will help them know fraud when they see it.

Security Software

You can’t sit with your elderly parent every moment they’re online, but you can be sure that their computer is protected by security software.  Work with your parent to install software to protect their computer from viruses, spyware and other Internet bad guys.

Security software is classified into various types, but all are important. Be sure that you install antivirus, anti-spyware, anti-spam and firewalls. Each type focuses on a specific security threat. After installation, set the software to automatically update itself regularly.

The internet makes life easier for senior citizens, but it also makes them more vulnerable. By educating your elderly parents about internet safety you can help them protect themselves and their personal information from scammers and those intent on defrauding them out of their money.

Seniors Are Often the Target of Online Scams

Senior Computer UserSenior citizens are often the targets of various scams and attempts to defraud them online. One reason that seniors are often easily defrauded is because many of them are not necessarily familiar with a lot of the latest modern technology. Remember that when many senior citizens were born, cars and telephones were rare, and the internet did not exist. Television sets were black and white. Because so many seniors are not familiar with the modern technological world and some its dangers, it is up to the more knowledgeable adults and friends of seniors to make sure these people are protected against scams and scam artists.

In contrast to senior citizens, today most people who are in their teen or adult years are very technologically savvy. They are familiar with electronic media and they are often very able to easily spot a scam from the beginning. If you are a senior and you have recently received some offer that appears to be very enticing, don’t just fall for it right away. Don’t send off your personal information or credit card number. Instead, ask someone else to have a look at it for you. For example, you may know some young person such as a neighbor, nephew or granddaughter who is knowledgeable about scams using modern technology. Ask a trusted person to take a look at the offer before you do anything about it.

In many places there is help available so that senior citizens can learn more about how to protect themselves against frauds and scams that target the elderly. You can start by searching on line for information on how you can protect yourself and avoid getting scammed or having your identity stolen. There are also groups who operate in your neighborhood who may have courses to teach you to be more savvy and avoid ripoffs.

If you do happen to come across an offer or an email that just doesn’t seem right to you, remember that your first instinct is probably correct. You are right to have some suspicions. Learn how to avoid online and offline scams and protect yourself. Be sure you are not giving away your money or your information to someone who is out to defraud you. Stay safe.

Elderly Home Care – How to Make a Home Safe For Seniors

By Elizabeth Dennis

Elder CareAs our parents age it is a great idea to take a look at their surroundings with a different set of eyes. Is their home safe for them? Is it getting increasingly difficult for them to perform everyday tasks? There are many features of a home that can make it difficult for the elderly to manage. Simply take a look at the multitude of products on the market to assist in the modification of a home – you will be amazed at all of the problem areas that need to be addressed.

Let’s take a look at some of the improvements that can make your aging parent’s environment more accessible and safe. This list will provide a good starting point.

Kitchen

  • Put everyday items in the cupboards that are the easiest to reach
  • Replace knobs on faucets and cabinets with handles or bars
  • Clearly label all stove and oven dials with stickers or brightly colored markers
  • Install slide-out bins in lower cabinets
  • Elevate the dishwasher or invest in dishwasher drawers
  • Replace glass cups and plates with plastic

Bathroom

  • Raise toilet seat or purchase a chair-height toilet
  • Install handrails near toilet and in bath or shower
  • Use a hand-held shower head and store it low
  • Install a secure seat in bathtub or shower
  • Place non-slip decals or mat in the tub or shower
  • Replace knobs on faucets and drawers with handles or bars

Bedroom

  • Re-locate bedroom to first floor
  • Clear off a solid chair or bench to make dressing easier
  • Hang a shoe rack in the closet
  • Move everyday items to the top drawers in dressers

All Areas of the Home

  • Replace all light bulbs with brighter ones
  • Position electrical cords and computer cables under furniture and against walls
  • Make sure all windows can be opened easily
  • Replace small appliances with those that have an automatic shut-off feature
  • Remove furniture that is low to the ground making it hard to get out of
  • Remove tables with sharp corners from high-traffic areas
  • Make sure entrances to homes are brightly lit and stairs and porches have handrails
  • Lock or replace casters on any chairs or furniture
  • Set up lamps so they can be turned on and off from a light switch
  • Place reflective tape on stairs
  • Remove area rugs to prevent tripping and obstacles for walkers
  • Replace stairs with ramps
  • Use nightlights in every room including halls
  • Replace door knobs with handles
  • Make sure there are temperature controls on the hot water heater
  • Install handrails in hallways and near steps
  • Widen doors for walkers or wheelchairs
  • Stick reflective decals on sliding glass doors
  • Remove locks on all interior doors in case of an emergency

Many of the items listed are quick fixes while others may require a bit more effort to implement. The goal is to make moving around the home and performing everyday task as easy and as safe as possible for your aging parents.

Elizabeth Dennis writes for a variety of health, beauty, and fitness topics. She regularly contributes to the think change and hair removal surgery guides.

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