The Internet can be fun, informative, and engaging for people of all ages, including seniors. In fact, nearly 50 percent of Americans 65 and older use Facebook, according to 2020 stats cited by Hootsuite. However, Internet-based scammers and other potential risks could make the online experience unpleasant for older adults if precautions aren’t taken, including the five discussed below.
1. Make Sure Software Is Updated
Most newer smartphones, laptops, and tablets automatically take care of major updates when they aren’t being used or when they’re turned on or off, but it never hurts to make sure everything is up to date on any device your senior loved one uses. The reason for doing this is to reduce the risk of viruses and malware.
A home caregiver can monitor your loved one’s safety 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. Carmichael 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.
2. Encourage the Use of Privacy Settings
When it’s time for your loved one to purchase a new device or upgrade to a new model, help him or her set appropriate privacy settings to reduce the risk of certain personal details getting into the wrong hands. Encourage your loved one to keep his or her social media accounts private for the same reason.
3. Remind Your Loved One to Post Responsibly
Even when social media accounts are set to private, your loved one’s friends could still copy and share what he or she posts in a way that displays it publicly. Advise your loved one to take precautions when posting, such as:
• Not posting photos or text that includes sensitive information, such as addresses or vehicle license plates
• Not mentioning specific dates when he or she will be away from home for long periods
• Not listing his or her email address—some scammers only need this one piece of information to start sending deceptive emails
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 Carmichael home care service 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.
4. Encourage Caution with Emails
It’s especially important for your parent to be aware of dangers such as emails that look like they’re from trusted sources or ones with misleading headlines so your loved one doesn’t accidentally open a message with a virus or one that installs malware or other types of dangerous software on his or her PC, laptop, or mobile device. Specific email precautions to suggest to your loved one include:
• Not opening emails from unknown senders
• Not opening an email with an attachment without first contacting the sender to ask if he or she sent the attachment
• Being cautious about providing his or her email address when visiting various websites
5. Remind Your Loved One to Use Strong Passwords
Using simple, easy-to-remember passwords increases the likelihood that online scammers will be able to figure them out. There are also programs that can be used to figure out fairly basic passwords to gain access to online accounts. Typically, a strong, secure password is:
• A mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols
• A long sentence or nonsensical phrase that may be easier for your loved one to remember*
• Not based on personal details such as birthdate or social security number
• Not the same one already used for other websites or online accounts
*Using a password manager tool is another way your loved one can conveniently keep track of passwords if he or she needs some help remembering them.
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 senior care. Trust Home Care Assistance to help your elderly loved one age in place safely and comfortably. Trust your loved one’s care to the professionals at Home Care Assistance. To create a customized home care plan for your loved one, call (916) 485-4663 today.