Avoid the shops: Help elderly parents stay safe and entertained online

Apr 07, 2020
If your elderly parents are stuck indoors, why not help them get to grips with online shopping and digital entertainment. Source: Shutterstock.

In line with government advice, older Australians should be staying at home and avoiding going outside unless it is absolutely essential. So, as we all adjust to spending more time confined to our homes, why not use this opportunity to help elderly parents or relatives to get to grips with online shopping, and other valuable technology.

Online shopping

Online shopping has surged in popularity in recent years, to the point where there’s not much you cannot purchase from the comfort of your own home. If elderly relatives are not familiar with online shopping, chat to them about what they enjoy eating and what products they use day-to-day. You can then build out a shopping list for them over the phone and place the order for them online.

Supermarket deliveries are currently in high demand causing delays and shortages, but the option to have essentials delivered will only become more valuable over time, especially as supermarket stock levels stabilise. Woolworths has teamed up with Australia Post and DHL to deliver an $80 Woolworths Basics Box, which includes meals, snacks and other essentials, while Coles launched its ‘Community Box’ last week. These could be good solutions for your parents.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that lots of small local businesses are quickly adding or expanding delivery services and many will not have the same pressure on demand. Check what’s now available in your parents’ local area, as well as smaller fresh food delivery services like Harris Farm. You can also set them up with an Uber Eats or Deliveroo account, or just order their favourite meal for them as a nice surprise!

Pay bills online

While they’re being advised to stay at home, assure your parents that they can still tick off the same items from their to-do list online – even down to paying their bills. By phone, you can talk them through how to set up digital bill payments, so they don’t need to worry about making it to the post office or bank.

Staying safe online

Setting up an account with an online payment platform, such as PayPal, will allow your parents or elderly relatives to pay online without directly sharing their credit card details over the internet. This will also save them from having to enter in long strings of numbers each time they make a purchase.

PayPal can also be used to easily transfer money to family and friends if they need to reimburse them for any physical shopping costs. Make sure you adhere to government restrictions though, and guide them through how to do this over the phone.

Set up ‘isol-tainment’

No one likes to sit at home all day with nothing to do, and now that the option of going outside is off-limits for older Australians, why not set them up with some other ways of keeping themselves occupied.

With Australian libraries now closed, why not teach them how to order books online, as now is the perfect time to get stuck into a great read. You can create a Dymocks or Booktopia account for them that will let them order books or audiobooks online to be delivered to their home.

There’s no better time for your parents to explore new movies and television shows – if they don’t already have a streaming service like Stan, walk them through the process of how they can set one up in their home. Bear in mind you may need to order them a Smart TV, or a streaming device to support the service. Once they are set up, help them create a Stan library where classic shows like I Love Lucy! will keep them entertained for hours!

Starts at 60 has also pulled together a list of the best classic TV shows that are available across a number of streaming services, from the likes of Monty Python and Blackadder. Click here to see the full list.

Or, if movies and television shows aren’t their thing, tell them how to tune into podcasts – there’s an endless array of topics for them to choose from.

Keep in touch

If your parents are digitally savvy and have a smartphone or laptop, video calls are a great way to stay in touch, especially if they’re struggling with being unable to see the grandkids. If not though, a good old-fashioned call to their landline will do. As you won’t be able to visit them in person, one of the most important things you can do right now is reach out to your parents and check how they are doing.

Do yo regularly shop online? Are your elderly parents

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