There’s a new – free – program to teach caregivers to use technology to shop, access resources, and more. Senior Planet is offering new sessions of Digital Essentials, a virtual course designed specifically for caregivers age 60+ and recipients of care. Here’s an inside look at this free, 6-week virtual course.
In the past it was a serious problem to be home-bound – recuperating after illness or surgery, for example – without a family member or nearby neighbor or friend. These caregivers handle essentials such as food shopping – and cooking! — picking up prescriptions, even helping get to the doctor and home again.
Tech to the Rescue
“All that has changed. A device that connects to the Internet puts a world of help at one’s fingertips,” points out Umme Mahmud (at left), a tech trainer for Senior Planet. In her role as a Senior Planet specialist in training would-be caregivers (and care recipients), Mahmud is teaching caregivers and interested seniors how to access vital assistance and handle everyday needs with technology.
In Senior Planet’s caregiver training Mahmud focuses on four key areas: Online safety, health care, food delivery, and social connection.
- Online safety. “It’s crucial to ensure that one’s personal information is protected; that’s one reason we cover thoroughly best practices for navigating the Internet safely,” notes Mahmud. Safe navigating habits also make it possible – and convenient – for homebound seniors and their caregivers to bank safely online. (After exploring a demo banking website, class attendees develop an appreciation of the benefits of banking online.)
- Health Care. With telemedicine, caregivers can learn it’s possible to schedule virtual doctor visits from across the city – even across the country – without leaving home. Prescriptions can be sent digitally to a nearby pharmacy – which probably will deliver, too. Other options: online prescription-delivery services such as GoodRx.com, Capsule.com, and NowRx.com. With just a few mouse clicks, you can order health and wellness products from VitaminShoppe.com, or InviteHealth.com to name just two. Digital healthcare options open up dozens, even hundreds, of health and wellness resources, even from authorities like the Cleveland Clinic.
- Ordering groceries and food. After downloading a grocery store’s app – and sometimes an app isn’t even necessary – homebound seniors and their caregivers learn how to arrange straight-to-their-doors grocery delivery. Don’t want to cook? Restaurants offering a variety of cuisines post their menus online making it possible to order in great meals delivered piping hot to the door.
- Social media. Especially if home-bound, even for just a short time, there is ample stimulus available thanks to online classes in many subject areas. Senior Planet, for example, has a full menu of classes anyone can access via Zoom (https://seniorplanet.org/get-involved/online/ ). Not sure how to use Zoom? There are instructions — including a tutorial – on Senior Planet’s site. Facebook is another resource. After teaching a few easy-to-apply basics, Seniors can keep in touch with tech-savvy children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
“I surprise myself again and again: I usually find what I want”
Not just caregivers benefit from the training; every attendee benefits. Just ask Joan Ungero (at right). “Besides the applications I’m learning about, I learned sometime truly vital: Not to be afraid of the computer!” she says. “If something doesn’t work, I poke around trying different things, something I was afraid to do before taking the training.”
The best part? “I surprise myself again and again: I usually find what I want,” says Joan.
Senior Planet is offering new sessions of Digital Essentials, a virtual course designed specifically for caregivers age 60+ and recipients of care. In this free, 6-week virtual course, you will learn how digital tools and platforms can make everyday tasks easier. Sessions begin on August 9th and 10th, and registration is now open! Learn more and reserve your spot today at seniorplanet.org/caregiving.