Rediscover the internet at 60: Essential websites for older people
21st October 2014
This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.
The internet is a vital resource in this day and age. While many think that the internet and the digital age is only relevant to the younger generation who use it for either their working or social lives, this is far from the case.
The internet offers countless websites and resources for the elderly that can not only improve the lives of older browsers, but are easy to access and simple to use. Here we have put together an essential list of websites for older people that you can easily browse from the comfort of your motorised rise and recliner chair via a laptop or even on a straight stairlift with a tablet. With many of these websites built specifically for the older user they are easy to navigate and many work perfectly across multiple devices to offer independence and company in your own home.
The Silver Line Helpline launched across the UK in November 2013 following a grant from the Big Lottery. It has already taken more than 230,000 calls from older people seeking information, friendship, advice and protection from abuse or neglect. It is the only 24-hour, free and confidential helpline for older people and answers more than 1000 calls a day. Give them a call on 0800 4 70 80 90. Here’s what Colin, a Silver Line Friend, had to say about his experiences as a volunteer.
“It was with some trepidation that on a Sunday evening in early July I entered the Silver Line website, pressed on Contacts and then on Call. Through the magic of technology, which I have to admit, I do not understand, I was immediately talking to my first Silver Line friend.
It went better than I had anticipated. We quickly found common interests – Indian cooking and then some military history. What a combination! 30 minutes passed very quickly!
Since then every Sunday evening has been very special, and only last Sunday both my friends said how much they enjoyed our newly formed relationship. That really makes the whole thing very worthwhile and it is a privilege for me to have such interesting people to talk to.”
- Colin, Silver Line Friend
The Silver Line are currently appealing for volunteers who would be willing to spend half an hour each week befriending an older person by phone; their waiting list currently stands at 1000 older people waiting to be matched to a volunteer Silver Line Friend. The training takes half a day with a simple application process, including references and DBS checks. Calls are made through a virtual call system so they are free for both parties and are recorded for safeguarding purposes. Currently they have volunteers whose ages range between 18 and 97 years.
To find out more about volunteering for The Silver Line click here.
From company over the phone to making the most of later life, the Later Life website is equipped to help you do just that. They answer nearly every question you could have on approaching and entering retirement, including information on health, travel, finance, leisure and much more
“LaterLife.com is an amazing website focused on giving you the best of all worlds for anyone over 50, with new interesting and informative articles every week as well as access to a wide variety of resources to help you in making the most of later life and retirement, including extensive free guides, competitions and newsletters.”
– Later Life
This next essential website is localised and specifically is there for people over the age of 50 living in Newcastle. Offering information and news that is specifically relevant to this particular group, it is certainly an essential website for older Newcastle residents.
It prides itself on helping people stay informed, make choices, plan ahead, be independent and have an excellent quality of life.
With independent advice and step by step guides on everything from what to do in your spare time to advice on getting online, money, transport, family issues, housing and health, to name just a few, even if you don’t live in Newcastle you might want to give this website a browse.
You can also share information easily by saving it for later, printing it or emailing it. New accessibility software is available, which means that you can change the size, colour and language of Information Now and even have it read aloud. You can stay up to date by subscribing to the free Information Now News here.
Mature Times, or ‘the voice of our generation’, certainly lives up to its slogan. As the UK’s longest-established and biggest circulation free newspaper for the over 50s and the only campaigning newspaper for older people, it provides interesting and entertaining articles of interest to the older reader.
It is a newspaper with ‘attitude’ and also contains good quality editorial on lifestyle issues that specifically are of interest to the older generations. Their fortnightly newsletter is packed with interesting content that is not contained within the printed version of the paper, as well as many competitions and offers.
Contact the Elderly is the only national charity solely dedicated to tackling social isolation and loneliness amongst isolated older people through regular face-to-face contact. Supported by a volunteer network, the charity organises free monthly Sunday afternoon tea parties in the homes of volunteer hosts within local communities. Each older guest is collected from their home by a volunteer driver and taken to a volunteer host’s home, where they meet with a small group for tea, chat and friendship. The group is warmly welcomed by a different host each month, but the drivers remain the same, which means that over the months and years, acquaintances turn into friends and loneliness is replaced by companionship.
Their website is full of relevant news and features as well as plenty more information about this commendable charity.
Grandparents Plus is another great charity that champions the vital role of grandparents. Too often the role of the grandparent is overlooked and this website, which supports grandparents and the wider family in children’s lives, especially in difficult family circumstances, offers news, advice and support. From information on local support groups to ideas of fun things to do with children, it is a fantastic resource that can really strengthen a grandparent’s relationship with their grandchild.
They also have an advice line for kinship carers on 0300 123 7015, which is open Mon-Fri 10am-3pm as well as offering a free Support Network for kinship carers.
Friends of the Elderly’s vision is a society where all older people are treated with respect and have the opportunity to lead fulfilled lives. As a national charity with over 100 years’ experience, they provide support for all older people, particularly those in need due to mental or physical frailty, isolation or poverty. In order to achieve their vision, they provide a number of quality services to enhance the lives of older people. These include: care homes, day clubs, home support, befriending and grants.
Their website has more information on all of these services as well as news and articles about overcoming loneliness. Take a look today to find out more.
Action for Elders is a relatively new charity with a focus on keeping older people active, healthier and happier in old age. They are running programmes throughout the UK to achieve those objectives. As a not-for-profit social enterprise and registered charity that looks to help older people and society as a whole deal better with the challenges of later life, their website has a whole host of information and news on the subject that would be of interest to the older generation.
“It’s vitally important to consider how we adapt to an ageing population to ensure that older people can maintain a good quality of life.” - Lorraine Morgan, chair of Action for Elders
While this next website is aimed specifically at older people living in Ireland, its message and advice is helpful to all older residents in the UK. They support older people who are homeless, socially isolated, living in poverty or in crisis, a figure which has scarily reached one in five older people, by providing Supportive Housing, Befriending, Community Response and Campaigning services. Their website provides plenty more information on the range of services that ALONE offer as well as national news of interest to older people.
This next essential website may not be deemed necessarily essential by some, but it is certainly a useful and positive website for the older browser. It is widely considered that puzzles and brain-teasers are good for the mind and mood, and Best for Puzzles is one of the best websites for the older user.
Created by a respected crossword setter in his late 60s, having set crosswords for the likes of The Times, The Guardian, and Financial Times, the website is full of all types of crosswords and puzzles from easy Quick Crosswords and the popular Codewords puzzles to more difficult Cryptic Crosswords. There is also a cryptic crossword tutorial for those who are beginning to discover Cryptic Crosswords.
Finally, Ancestry is a fantastic website for all those who want to find out more about their family history and never found the time. With birth, marriage and death information; military records; census data and electoral rolls to help you fill in the gaps of your own family tree, it is a fantastic resource that can benefit the whole family. Many are amazed at what they uncover.
This is just a small selection of the fantastic websites available to older people, which illustrates the range of online resources there are out there. From helping in everyday life to entertainment and hobbies, the internet is perhaps at its most useful to the older generation.
Image Credit: Matty Ring (flickr.com), The Silver Line, Later Life, Information NOW, Mature Times, Contact the Elderly, Grandparents Plus, Friends of the Elderly Registered Charity number 226064, Action for Elders, ALONE, Best for Puzzles, Ancestry
This content was written by Emily Bray. Please feel free to visit my Google + profile to read more stories.