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How Older Adults Can Stay Safe When Using the Internet

By Cherie Coe, 9:00 am on

Seniors are enjoying the benefits of technology as they explore the many ways going online can enhance their lives. However, it is important for seniors to stay safe by following a few tips every time they go online. Jefferson County in-home elder care experts explain a few ways your aging loved one can stay protected against scammers and hackers when using the Internet.

Create Strong Passwords

It may be tempting to use a birthday or grandchild’s name as a password. However, using personal information makes it easier for a hacker to figure the password out. Instead, your loved one should create strong passwords that include a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. Remind him or her to update them frequently and never use the same password for two different sites.

Use Privacy Settings

Allowing the public to view private information can be dangerous. When your loved one signs up for social media sites, encourage him or her learn about the privacy settings. Making photographs or status updates only visible to a select group of trusted people can protect your loved one from theft and other types of criminal activity.

Meet New Online Friends in Public

Dating websites and hobby forums have made it possible for seniors to expand their social horizons. However, your loved one should always remember he or she can never be certain if these online friends are honest until meeting them in person. When taking an online friendship to the next level by meeting offline, your loved one should set up a date in a public space such as a coffee shop. Encourage your loved one to tell you or someone else where he or she is going and set up a time to check in.

Learn How to Avoid Common Scams

Seniors are often the targets of scammers who use email and other methods to talk people out of their money. For example, your loved one may receive an email from someone claiming to be a long-lost relative in need of cash, or a false bill may be sent to his or her email address. Recognizing and reporting these types of scams can protect your loved one. As an additional measure, your loved one should never give out personal information, such as a bank account number, to someone who messages him or her online.

Using the Internet can be a great way for your loved one to stay social and receive regular mental stimulation. For additional suggestions on how your loved one can boost his or her mental and emotional wellbeing, reach out to Home Care Assistance. We are Jefferson County’s trusted provider of respite and live-in care, and we also offer comprehensive Parkinson’s, post-stroke, and dementia care. Jefferson County seniors can count on our professional caregivers to help them maintain a higher quality of life while aging in place. For more information on our in-home care services, call (303) 987-5992 to schedule a complimentary consultation.