The internet is an essential part of everyday life. In this modern day, it provides a wealth of knowledge, e-commerce, entertainment and serves as a medium for communication too. Now more than ever, people everywhere have come to rely on this technology. Statista reported the number of households with internet access via broadband service reached 120 million in 2020. But what about seniors and this technology?
Did you know that internet adoption has risen exponentially over the last decade among older adults? However, there is still a digital divide seen between generations. More times than not, the reason someone is not on the internet is simply because they do not have access to it. Older Adults Technology Services (OATS) reports that twenty-two million seniors in the U.S. still lack broadband internet access. This contributes to social isolation and further alienates seniors living alone in their homes from essential services and daily communication.
Today, staying connected with friends, family and the outside world is crucial, especially for seniors who choose to age in place. We’ll share resources that can help make the internet more affordable, so the people you care about have access to things they didn’t even know they needed! When they’re connected online, they have access to do more, see more and connect more–all at the tip of their fingers.
Internet – it’s more than just connection
Recent years have highlighted the importance of having internet access in every home. From online learning, to telehealth, to staying connected with friends and family at a safe distance, having accessibility to the internet is imperative for several reasons–especially for seniors who live alone. In addition to seniors who lack internet access, Pew Research Center reveals that 27% of adults over the age of 60 live alone in the United States.
Living alone can be especially freeing for many people, but staying connected to the world is still essential for both physical and mental health! That’s even more reason to get connected online. Establish a working internet connection in the homes of your loved ones so they have access to essential services and a way to effectively communicate online. It will also improve social relationships and boost mental health with regular socialization. It’s time to get connected–here’s how!
- Communicate with friends and family outside of using a phone by email and social platforms like Facebook.
- Book a time to talk to a real doctor virtually using Telehealth platforms like Sesame and find great deals on prescriptions using GoodRx.
- Order groceries online and get them delivered straight to a home address using online platforms like Instacart and Walmart+ for same day delivery!
- Schedule appointments online to avoid long call times, especially if you or someone you know has hearing loss. See how a caption phone can be beneficial.
- Protect against scams and never give out personally identifiable information like credit cards and bank numbers. Read more about how to identify and block scams here.
Low-cost internet for those who qualify
There are many great resources to help pay for internet costs. Easily communicate with loved ones every day with programs that can help make internet service more affordable.
- Lifeline is a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) program that can help low-income consumers gain access to communications services at a more affordable price. Monthly discounts are given on qualifying telephone service, broadband internet service or bundled packages for those who are eligible.
- Aging Connected is an Older Adults Technology service from the American Association of Retired Persons or AARP. They work to improve social connections by connecting seniors with affordable and underutilized internet offerings in certain areas.
- The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) benefit program that helps low-income households pay for internet service. The benefit provides a discount of up to thirty dollars per month towards internet service for eligible households and up to seventy-five dollars per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. To qualify for ACP any one of the following requirements can be used:
- If you, your child or dependent receive government assistance programs.
- If your household income is 200% or less than the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
- If you, your child or dependent are currently receiving a Lifeline benefit.
- If you or someone in your household participates in Tribal specific programs.
For more on requirements and guidelines, visit acpbenefit.org/do-i-qualify/.
American businessman, software developer, investor, author and philanthropist, Bill Gates once said…
“The Internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow.”
Internet access gives everyone the opportunity to do more, see more and connect more. Make sure the people close to you are present and accounted for. Connect to the internet today and ensure your loved ones can too!
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