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Simple Tech and Online Safety Tips for Aging Parents

While new devices and technology are eagerly welcomed by tech-driven generations, older generations looking to “age in place” or live in senior communities are sometimes wary of or frustrated by tech—and understandably so!

Navigating the web with confidence can allow aging parents to stay more connected with their families and friends across the world, but there are also risks that come with being online. If you’re looking to help your aging parents (or yourself!) navigate the internet as safely as possible, the following tips and devices can help.

Recommended Devices for Elderly People

First, we begin with some recommended phones and tablets for aging parents. In preparing our list, we've prioritized the general ease of the device's interface and overall use, the quality of the audio and calling capabilities, and the text and icon organization and readability, as well as overall value.

Two Suggested Phones for Aging Seniors

We can confidently recommend two easy-to-use phones from Jitterbug: the Jitterbug Flip2 and the Jitterbug Smart4. The Jitterbug Flip2 is among the simplest phones anyone can get today, letting seniors use the Flip2 for basic cell phone uses like voice calls. It also sports a camera, though its photo features are rather limited. The Flip2 includes voice commands for smart home devices like Alexa, making it far better than the flip phones of 25 years ago! But, as it’s not a smartphone, the Flip2 has far fewer bells and whistles that many seniors just don’t use anyway.

For older parents looking for a “real” smartphone, the Jitterbug Smart4 may be an ideal option. We love its basic, text-based interface and easy-on-the-eyes large screen. Shoppers will be hard-pressed to find a smartphone with a more intuitive navigation than the Smart4. It’s also among the cheapest smartphones on the market today, making it even more appealing to budget-conscious seniors. Additionally, the Smart4 offers options to turn on emergency monitoring and other safety features, providing peace of mind to seniors and their families.

Two Tablets for Aging Parents

Next, we turn to tablets, which facilitate essential internet browsing and enhanced communication opportunities like video calling. Two tablets stand out as solid options: the Grandpad and the Amazon Fire HD 8.

Built specifically with seniors in mind, the Grandpad boasts that it’s “the simplest way to connect because you get everything you need and nothing you don't.” Its large icons are easy to locate, and the layout is intuitive to follow. The Grandpad has just about all the features an older person could want in a tablet, including video calling capability, social media apps, photo storage and organization, music and videos, and even games. And as its customer service representatives are available 24/7, seniors can quickly contact Grandpad for help, reducing their reliance on their own children and grandchildren for technical assistance.

Another frequently touted tablet for aging parents is the Amazon Fire HD 8. Though not specifically designed for older people like the Grandpad, Amazon’s tablet is a good fit for many seniors, as it’s a solid combination of manageable size, generous array of apps and programs, forgiving interface, and budget-oriented price. And since it’s an Amazon-related product, it syncs nicely with Alexa for voice commands.

Tips to Make the Internet and Tech Safer for Seniors

Next, we offer some tips and advice for family members concerned about their older loved ones’ online security and safety.  By implementing these simple steps, seniors can enjoy the internet with greater confidence.

Enable Email Forwarding

One simple but effective way to reduce the risk of your elderly parents succumbing to online scams and phishing is to turn on email forwarding from their email accounts to yours. Just by scanning the emails your aging loved ones receive, you can keep an eye out for phishing attempts and similar schemes—and alert aging parents before they fall into cybercriminals’ traps.

Monitoring Banking and Other Financial Accounts

Another tip you can easily employ to safeguard your aging parents online is to keep tabs on their banking and other financial accounts. This includes receiving alerts about account activity on their credit card statements or any other financial account that could be preyed upon by cybercriminals. Staying alert for seemingly strange transactions or debits from unknown merchants or companies can help stave off financial disaster early by quickly reporting the unusual activity, allowing financial services companies to rectify them.

Install Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware Software on Elderly Parents’ Devices

While it’s reflexively second nature to most people to install strong anti-virus software on devices that connect to the internet, this seemingly simple step is often overlooked—and not just by the elderly! Some excellent cybersecurity programs offer free versions of their software that may just be sufficient for your aging parents’ needs and risks. Compare the different programs and assess your loved ones’ online safety and security needs. But be sure to install it and enable it on your aging parents’ devices, an essential step too-frequently forgotten—and don’t forget to keep it updated, too!

Run Software and Hardware Security Updates Regularly    

Finally, though you may also forget to check for software and security updates on your own devices, it’s imperative that you regularly check on your aging parents’ operating systems and security program updates! Setting monthly reminders in your own calendar to check on mom’s tablet or smartphone for security updates will help keep them protected from viruses and hackers. Of course, the simplest way to stay on top of updating software is to enable automatic security and software updates, which most such programs do.

With these simple tips and easy-to-use device recommendations, you and your elderly parents can feel more assured when using BeresfordTel’s advanced fiber network. And for more advice on staying safe online, follow BeresfordTel’s social pages!

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