I recently was at a Senior Expo, and had the opportunity to talk with a number of senior citizens. One of the interesting observations I came away with is that are a number of older people who do not have computers and for whom the internet is a foreign land. This is a shame because the internet is a great way to keep in contact with long-distance friends and relatives, and the internet has a wealth of information on virtually any topic in which you are interested. Some people simply cannot afford to purchase a computer and internet service, and others believe they are too old to learn. For the second group, let me say that my parents learned to use computers and the internet when they were in their mid 80’s, so you are never too old to learn. For the first group, who cannot afford a computer, I have a suggestion – go to your library. Many libraries have computers with internet access for public use. If you need help learning how to use the computer, just smile and ask the library staff for some assistance. (The smile is not required; it just makes everyone feel better.) From time to time, libraries, recreation associations and senior centers offer basic low cost or no cost Introduction to the Internet courses for seniors. A class like this can really help you get started.
Let me pick one website to show you how helpful the internet can be. If you are on Medicare, you are probably well aware that we are in the middle of the enrollment period (October 15 to December 7). Each year you have the chance to change your Medicare coverage, but if you are like many people, you wonder, “How do I know what plan is best for me?” Here is where the Medicare website can help. www.medicare.gov is the address for Medicare’s internet website. Once you are there you can get information on how Medicare works. You can also get information on what Medicare Advantage Plans, Medigap plans, and Part D plans (prescription coverage) are available in your area. If you list what medications you take, this website will help you determine which Medicare Advantage and Part D plans provide the best coverage in your specific case. Medicare even rates the different plans that are available to you.
Now I realize that, since this is a blog, if you are reading it you are either internet savvy or you have had someone find this blog for you. However, you probably know some senior citizens who are internet shy, and if you would like to show them what they are missing, just print this off and give them a paper copy. Have fun surfing the web!
Elder Care Coordinator