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 much 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.
Keeping active is not all about using Gymnasiums or fitness classes!
As we grow older, and give up working, our daily activities change, we may no longer walk to and from work, and often spend more time at home. We can benefit from fitness classes to keep our body's in shape, but we also need to consider our minds, taking a more holistic view on our health.
Building on, and finding new hobbies and pastimes become important, to keep us both mobile and keep our brains active. For some this may include walking the hills, but for others a more gentle approach is necessary. And this section has a collection of ideas that can be done at a slower pace.
Choose your area and your topics, for the advice you need.
Recent sudden increases in the cost of living have caught many unprepared, prices for essential items such as Electricity, Gas, Fuel, Heating oil, have increased way beyond expectations, and because of the increase in fuel costs, prices of everyday items such as food have also gone through the roof. Yet although some things have doubled or tripled in price, pension payments or benefits have remained the same.
Many seniors are going to struggle to heat their homes and still afford to eat this coming winter despite the one-off assistance payments being offered by the government. For this reason it is important that we closely monitor what we are spending, cutback on non-essentials, cancel any unnecessary luxury items such as magazine subscriptions, television and video broadcast services, or online subscriptions. Or find free alternatives.
Click the links below to find out more about how we can try to save during these difficult times.
By Andrea Needham September 2022
As we get older, the simplest of tasks can get progressively harder to perform, this could be due to health issues, mobility problems, or lack of transport, but can also be due to not being able to understand new ways of doing things. The older generation have spent a lifetime filling in paper-based forms, or making phone calls, or physically visiting a shop or bank, and with many not being computer literate, or able to use apps on a mobile phone, many find it hard and extremely confusing in these days of everything being done online. They also have Pride, and do not like to 'burden' others with their problems or inabilities to understand technology, so we need to offer (not force) our help to re-enable them, whilst still promoting independence.
Andrea Needham has created and sent in for inclusion this small guide.
Transport for Wales is currently renewing all Concessionary Bus Passes in Wales.
The most important thing to note is that your current bus pass will still be valid until the end of this year. So, there is no rush to get your application in for a new pass. We’ve highlighted a number of ways you can apply or reapply for your concessionary bus pass by December 31st 2019.
If you have any questions about your renewal, you should contact the Transport for Wales helpline on 0300 303 4240.
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 use 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.
A site containing useful information is provided by 'VIM&VIGR'.
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.
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.
With most things now paid for either by an automated Direct Debit or by use of a card payment, and the use of Online or Phone Banking, it is easy to lose track of how much we have spent, where our money is going, and to detect any incorrect or unnecessary payments. For those who have the skills to use a spreadsheet, then it is advisable to justify your payments against your bank statement each month, which will highlight any errors, missed or incorrect payments, and help you plan ahead for future large payments.
A spreadsheet which monitors income Vs outgoings each month will allow you to visually see upcoming due payments and the balance expected to be in your account at that particular time. This will then give you time to juggle around payments if there will not be enough in the account on the due date.
A spreadsheet will make it much easier to see where your money is going, and therefore where you could possibly make savings. It will also be extremely useful when completing official pension / benefit documents.