Going Digital: How Digital Technology Can Improve Your Life

Every year more and more seniors are getting online. Figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show that in 2011, only 20% of adults aged 75 and over were recent internet users, rising to 44% in 2018. The same could be said for recent internet use in 65 to 74 year olds, increasing from 52% in 2011 to 80% in 2018. So why are so many more older adults getting online? The internet and digital technology has become increasingly accessible for older adults in recent years, due to the penetration of smartphones in the older demographic as well as the ease of using a tablet compared to a laptop. The internet and smartphones offer a range of services that can enhance the lives of their users. So it’s no wonder older adults are jumping online to enjoy all the benefits of going digital. But what are those benefits? We’ve compiled a list of some of the benefits of getting online and going digital.

Online Shopping

Often cited as the biggest reason highstreets have declined over the last fifteen years, online shopping has revolutionised the way in which we shop. With next day delivery offered almost ubiquitously, it’s essentially as instant as highstreet shopping. At the touch of a button, you can compare the prices of millions of products as well as read user reviews. This gives you the ability to make informed purchasing decisions without having to first buy and try the product.

Ratings & Reviews

Most companies will have their own rating system for products that they sell or are listed on their site. Others will use third-party companies such as TrustPilot to manage their reviews. This put power in the hands of the shopper as you can access large amounts of product information by searching online, read other peoples review of the product and make and informed decision about whether or not to purchase. When shopping online, be sure to buy from trusted websites that you’re either familiar with or look out for a websites TrustPilot rating - to ensure that you’re buying from a reputable online shop with quality service.

Saving Money

The Government estimates that households that are offline, could be missing out on savings in the region of £560. This was back in 2014, so the possible savings now are likely much higher. By shopping around the different websites and taking advantage of the Google Shopping tool, you can be sure to get the best price for whatever you’re buying. Just search a few different websites and find the best price. The internet is also full of comparison sites that offer comparisons on things like insurance & energy providers, flights, hotels, broadband and phone packages. Providers such as MoneySuperMarket can compare hundreds of deals at a time so you don’t have to, meaning you get the best price everytime. Going online and using a site like MoneySuperMarket, or even doing your own shopping around for the best price, could save you thousands of pounds each year.

Connect with Family & Friends

By being online, you can make the most of the internet’s greatest features - connectivity and communication. This is what the internet was initially developed for. Now, we’re living in the golden age of communication. At the touch of a button, from almost anywhere in the world a message of any kind can be sent and received in seconds. We have social networking sites that can connect you with old friends and make communication with your current friends easier. Others that let you upload photos of your life so that your friends and family can be updated on what you’re doing. But perhaps most importantly, we now have video chat. What was once just the idea of science-fiction, has now become one of our primary ways of communicating with loved ones. Skype and Facetime give you the opportunity to speak face to face with a loved one who could be thousands of miles away, a grandchild away at university or simply as a more personal way to have a regular phone call. Adopting the use of a device that gives you video call capabilities can improve your relationships with loved ones as well as reduce feelings of loneliness and social isolation. Which can have incredible mental health benefits.

Learn Something New

The internet is an incredible tool for learning. With immediate access to information at your fingertips, and the internet being jam-packed with ‘how-to’ guides and instructional videos guiding you every step of the way, there’s no excuse for not becoming a skilled chef, baker, knitter or any other hobby you set your mind on mastering. Use Google to search for guides, information or recipes. Or learn how to do that bit of DIY that you’ve been putting off - by watching instructional videos on Youtube of professionals online. Save time and money by not paying for classes and learn everything you need to know straight from the web.

Go Digital

There are a range of services that were once unavailable to online and now are seemingly ubiquitous with the online experience. Some of the services that are now offered online have completely changed the ways in which we interact with companies when compared with 10 years ago. This list has already named a few but here are some extra notable mentions of some of the best online services that you might be missing out on.

Newspapers

No longer are you required to walk down to the local shop for your daily newspapers. Almost every widely printed newspaper offer some kind of digital subscription where you can either pay for your paper upfront and print vouchers from your computer or recieve your paper digitally for reading on your device - both of which, save you time and money.

Online Banking

With consistent year on year increases in the amount of people using internet banking in the UK, more of us than ever are doing our banking online. All banks offer secure apps that allow you to view your accounts, move money quickly and freely, see your recent transactions, make changes to your accounts, request a new card if yours is lost or stolen and even apply for financial products. Almost every aspect of banking has moved online, offering customers easy access to financial services.

Maps & Navigation

GPS tracking in phones over the last 10 years has become so accurate and well connected that navigation apps and websites have become synonymous with getting people where they want to go. Apps like Google maps are so effective at getting you from A to B, that traditional sat-navs have become obsolete. Or an app such as Waze can inform you of how fast traffic is moving, give you live updates on crashes and congestion and even inform you of an upcoming speed trap!