8 ways the internet can change your retirement
28th June 2017
This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.
As modern medicine improves people are far more able to enjoy their retirement and for an extended period of time, but is it just medicine we have to thank for the extra ease? The internet has revolutionised the way we see things, and many people are unable to remember how we got by without it. But how does it specifically relate to a life post work? Whether directly bringing services to your door or filling your days with hobbies previously unheard of, the internet is ensuring access to everything in your retirement, so regardless of your mobility, a wealth of knowledge is available to you.
The idea that learning is the remit of the young has been disproved many times over in the last few years. As more and more people are looking to finish degrees left behind years ago, or start afresh on a subject that has always interested them, the option of accessing the course materials online means they do not have to be daunted by attending lectures on campus.
The Open University specialises in studying at home and has welcomed online innovation for the opportunity it offers many of its students. The Open University does not focus on your previous qualifications, stating “We believe that the qualifications our students have when they leave are the only ones that matter.”
People move about in retirement, whether to seek their favourite holiday destination and live their full time or just to move closer to amenities or family, this can often mean uprooting from your previous social circle. The days of being tethered to the landline are over and done, instead you can share images and videos on social media, Skype family or friends far away and generally stay up to date with your loved ones lives.
It also allows you to join groups on platforms like facebook, this can be an avenue to making new friends, being involved in new interests or simply sharing information with like-minded people.
No longer do you have to enter a restaurant, unsure of what to expect, downloadable menus, endless reviews and even the ability to order online at certain establishments, all remove the unknown from any activity. This of course applies to every element of our lives, from electrical goods to holiday resorts, knowing someone else has tried and tested it, as well as being able to thoroughly research something you are spending your hard earned cash on relieves any anxiety.
Trip Advisor is used by millions of people and collates thousands of reviews every day, though some reviews have to be taken with a pinch of salt. However as a way of getting an overview of attractions, restaurants, hotels and activities, it is a great starting point. Which offers advice and product reviews on everything from Wills to Fridge freezers. There are also always expert blogs so you can fully investigate a specific holiday destination or brand of coffee maker.
Your retirement is often the time to further interests that were dropped due to a lack of time or look for new hobbies. There is no better place to look for inspiration than online. With new blogs starting every day or established blogs continually trying new things, the internet is full of handy tutorials and YouTube channels than can teach you almost any skill from languages to learning an instrument.
James Alexander Sinclair has a gardening blog that covers his musings, shares tips and gorgeous pictures, however if you are looking for something wonderful for you own garden, this blog is guaranteed to get you thinking. Not Quite Nigella is a cooking blog that makes food as sensual as the chef in question. If you are looking to get creative with colour, flavour and exotic ingredients, then this is one to follow.
Information at your fingertips
Though some people may miss the stacks of encyclopaedias, the settling of disputes with a rustle of pages, this is no longer the case. Whether you are looking up a word for scrabble, clarifying an argument with irrefutable proof or unable to get a song out of your head until you listen to it on repeat, this is all available online.
Sometimes the sheer amount of information available is a little daunting, however any topic of interest is available to research, if you have the time and passion to do so. Though with so much information comes a few draw backs. Not everything online should be taken as factual, not all sites have quality sources so it takes a little discernment to separate the wheat from the chaff.
How could anybody deny the accessible elements of online shopping? Absolutely anything, from groceries to clothes to furniture, is now available at the click of a button and it is great for those with mobility issues. If people are reliant on mobility aids and disabled bathrooms, they are less likely to want to trawl the high streets or the local supermarkets for essential items, let alone frivolous buys. By everything being available online, it increases the access of all goods.
The same applies to entertainment. The video store has been left in the dust, with giants like Netflix and Hulu allowing you to watch whatever you want, whenever you want, traditional TV is becoming superfluous. Similarly for apps such as Spotify, the radio is losing support in favour of continuous and advert free music.
In previous years, everybody knew their bank manager, they would form a personal working relationship, take money advice and weather financial storms together. Now high street banks are dying, with fewer tellers as everything moves into the digital world. Checking a balance anywhere from your mobile device, transferring money almost instantly, as well as having any money management advice just a few clicks away are all now available to someone who banks digitally.
There is also the comparison websites who have made offers more transparent. You can check hundreds of flights on Skyscanner, ensuring you get the best deal for your holiday. Compare the Market offers hundreds of options for insurance and credit cards so you know you are getting more for your money. Even household appliances and furniture, you can find the same object for less with a quick online search.
Internet of things
This may be a work in progress but it looks set to alter our lives completely. Described as the fourth industrial revolution, the Internet of Things (IoT) is about connectivity. According to Wired:
“In the broadest sense, the term IoT encompasses everything connected to the internet, but it is increasingly being used to define objects that "talk" to each other. By combining these connected devices with automated systems, it is possible to "gather information, analyse it and create an action" to help someone with a particular task, or learn from a process. In reality, this ranges from smart mirrors to beacons in shops and beyond.”
From sensors beneath the floor that inform services if you have had a full, to a fridge that tells suppliers that you are out of milk, the Internet of Things could change the way we live our entire lives and not just retirement.