As we progress towards later life, it is easy to feel left behind with the fast and ever changing technologies, new methods and new ways of doing things that we have managed to do for a lifetime are forced upon us, sometimes creating confusion and misunderstanding.
IT CAN SEEM A CRAZY WORLD THAT WE NOW LIVE IN
Everything seems to be online, electrical, digital, technical, and so different.
The idea of this section is to try to make things more understandable, explain changes, and to promote your safety both at home and outside. To give advice on who to contact, how to do things, make you aware of dangers and new forms of crime, and to show you useful ideas that can help improve your life.
There are endless scams aimed at taking our money, many are aimed at the most vulnerable, designed to confuse us into believing they are real.
Be safe, be aware of them so you do not fall into their trap.
Our ways of life have changed, but sometimes our homes have not kept up. Items we used to use years ago may not now be safe to use at all. New items and replacements may need to be used differently.
Artificial Intelligence in Smart devices can greatly improve our independence, and can also provide a basic companionship.
Many of the safety articles in this section were taken from the above ebook which is available from Amazon and other suppliers.
Unfortunately thesedays it has become hard to trust anybody who call us on our telephones or who knocks on our doors, even if they do show identification cards, these can now be reproduced too easily using modern day computers. If anyone calls claiming they are from the Gas board, Electricity company, telephone or any other agency do not let them in, ask first for identification and before you open the door telephone the company direct to check they are legitimate, always phone the office number prined on a previous bill or from a directory, never one given by the caller or from identification you are shown.
14th Dec 2018 5.40pm Two men called at a elderly persons back door on the Oldford Estate in Welshpool, when the resident did not respond they went around to the front door and knocked again saying they were doing research for Age UK.
AGE UK said they have no men working for them doing that sort of work and would never send people out in the dark to speak to the elderly.
If they knock on your door do not open it, call police immediately.
Credit to: BRIGHT SIDE
IS YOUR HOME SAFE ?
Many of our homes were built decades ago, some even centuries and way before electricity. When electricity became a standard fitting there were limited appliances around to use, this is why older houses have very few power sockets, sometimes only having one or two in each room. In the 50's for instance many homes did not have a television and only had a radio or lamp that needed a power socket, these could be unplugged for use by occassionally used items such as an iron or vacuum cleaner. These days everything requires electrical power, computers, tablets, telephones, mobile phone chargers, hair dryers, even toys, a typical room can now have the need for twenty or more power sockets all to be used at the same time.
BUT IS IT SAFE TO USE ALL THESE ?
Adapter plugs allowing two or more plugs to use the same socket are often not fused and can overheat causing a fire.
DO NOT USE !
Multi-way adapters for light fittings were common in the 50's & 60's, often used to power Irons, radios, even washing machines and vacuum cleaners. EXTREMELY DANGEROUS & MUST NEVER BE USED !
Have the ability to connect many plugs, some now come with USB chargers built in. But many cheaper ones are still not fused and most do not have an overload protector fitted.
CAN OVERLOAD THE WIRING !
The wiring used in our houses limits the maximum amount of power available at any power outlet. The maximum is 3000 watts (13amps) per socket.
If we use any of the above adapters to increase our number of outlets, we can quite easily go beyond the maximum, causing the wiring that runs in our walls and under floorboards to overheat and even catch fire.
Plugging a Kettle (13amp), a Microwave (13amp) and a Toaster (13amp) into a powerstrip in the kitchen is causing a load of 39 amps, which is three times the maximum allowed.
If you do need additional outlets, it is advisable to get a qualified electrician to install them and any new wiring looms needed. Only use power strips as a temporary measure and then only with items that do not exceed the 13 amp maximum.
Many mature adults feel challenged by modern technology, and will reject or avoid it due to being afraid of what they do not understand. It can appear to be very technical and confusing and they may feel that learning how to use it is way beyond their ability.
But set up in the right way, and with simple instruction without the 'Tech-Speak' modern technology can really help to improve lifestyles.
One of the biggest issues as we get older is loneliness, we lose partners, our families move away and get caught up with busy lifestyles and find it harder to visit. But this can be easily overcome using modern Chat and videochat software, regardless of distance or location.
Does that comment ring any bells?... Is that what you are thinking?
It is what both my parents kept saying to me, my father who used main frame computers for years buying coffee and bananas as a commercial banker, and my mother who could make a sewing machine do miracles and could once type fast enough to set my keyboard on fire.
'I could never learn how to use one of those!'... Again said by both, but unknowingly they were, Mum was fascinated with youtube and clips of old television and the films and music of her past, and by moving the laptop in front of her so she could see better (out of my reach) and telling her to type the name in the search box she was using it by herself. Dad was the same, he was unwittingly operating the mouse, zooming in and out, and changing to street-view to walk along the streets as he used google earth to view the places he had been to in the military, our old houses, and to see how London had changed since they moved away.
It was the same on every visit to see him, 'Can we look at that thingy of yours?' then hurs would be lost exploring all over the world. When Mum departed Dad felt it badly, he tried to lose himself and time in his crosswords, and he would phone 2 or 3 times a day asking simple questions, just to hear a familiar voice.
If only they had let me set up a basic computer system for them, they could of talked to us, and most of the family who do have computers, they could of seen and talked to the grandchildren face to face using video-chat, without expensive phone calls abroad.
Give grandchildren a phone and you will get a handful of words from them before they are distracted with something else, but give them video-chat where they can see you and they will talk for an hour!
And they could of had hours of free entertainment, personalised to their tastes with Youtube, explored the world as if they were actually there, read books in large print, enjoyed endless puzzles and crosswords, found new recipes to try, got the missing answers to crossword questions, and explored past memories. Along with millions of other things on the Internet that would of filled the long never-ending days and loneliness.
DON'T BE THE SAME... DON'T SAY YOU CAN'T ... YOU COULD !
Credit to: myageingparen.com
Today's AI technology is growing fast, in some countries Robots are now being used to assist in the care of the elderly, monitoring their needs and health, administering medications and more importantly acting as a companion reducing loneliness.
Robots are very expensive and at the moment far beyond most peoples financial abilities, but we do have cheaper devices that can help us, even assisting in controlling our environment.
Devices such as Alexa, Echo, can help us maintain independence, they not only provide a voiced feedback but can also operate other devices, they can make automatic emergency telephone calls, and can text or call family or care givers when things go wrong. They can remotely control our heating, open and close doors and curtains, play us music or read out a book. They can also act as alarm clock, calendar and diary reminding us of important appointments and events, tell us the weather or news, or remind us when it is time to take medication. They can also provide a vast amount of information.
These devices and what they can do are expanding fast, and they do not take a diploma in computer science to operate, they work by simple voice commands.
AI is good as an assistant, but it does not replace actual physical company, as these devices grow in capabilities we must ensure we do not over rely on them and forget to actually visit !
Credit to: Assistive Technology Blog
Two-way video communication using Alexa.
Credit to: Dance Past Sunset.
How smart technology devices can assist as we grow older.
Credit to: Samsung Business USA
Credit to: it's Rose.
Showing the capabilities of Smart devices.
Credit to: WCPD.com
Creating video-chat capabilities does not have to be expensive, chat software does not need the latest fastest high spec computers bursting with memory and packed with software you will never use.
As many upgrade to newer machines, it is now quite easy to pick up a cheap used Personal Computer or Laptop. Set up correctly and made easy to use, along with the addition of a basic webcam and microphone headset (already present and built-in on most laptops), and one of the free chat software systems such as Skype, and an internet connection, and you can be chatting to family and friends all over the world.
I hate waste, and today's technology and the desire to constantly upgrade to newer and faster machines tends to create a lot of discarded but working machinery.
In another section on this site (Creative Ideas in Recycling) I explain how to repurpose outdated computers to create Smart Televisions. But this same idea can be used to create a video-chat system for use by elderly parents. Chat software that can not only talk between computers but can also be linked to mobile telephones can be obtained free, all that is needed is an internet connection.