How digital devices help independent living in Northern Ireland

Through AbilityNet's work with United Way UK we have been helping to set up donated digital devices to recipients, to ensure the devices are ready for use and have the necessary software safely installed. 

Margaret in discussion with a group of about 10 people at a care homeIn her seventies, Margaret Grant is a Radius Housing resident in Northern Ireland and received a tablet and training through the AbilityNet and United Way UK project.

A co-ordinator at Radius Housing, Karen Montgomery, introduced her to the opportunity to receive a tablet and digital device training. “Karen introduced it as part of our coffee morning,” says Margaret, “and then someone from AbilityNet came and gave us a computer class, which we enjoyed.”

How to stay safer from online scams

Cards laid out on table for solitaire gameThe course, Margaret says, covered how to avoid online scams – something Margaret feels confident she won’t fall foul of.

“The people more affected by scams are younger because they are buying an awful lot more stuff. They're also just a wee bit less suspicious than people of our age. I wouldn't fall for a scam. Even those romance ones!” But, Margaret says, “the course awakened us to the uses of the net.”

Margaret has “dipped in and out” of various topics, and enjoys looking at travel because she’s “not very mobile”, saying, “At least you can live it vicariously.”

She has enjoyed playing games, including Solitaire. “I think when you're a bit less mobile, you're inclined to get into games, but not serious gaming,” she says. 

AbilityNet in partnership with BT Group logoAbilityNet's Digital Skills project with BT Group is supporting people 65+ with getting online and using technology, such as:

- learning how to use email
- make video calls
- use online banking and book medical appointments

Sign up for Free BT Digital Skills sessions for people over 65 in your area. (Available to people in and around London, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Cardiff.)

Managing finances online

Older man looking at laptop with lady in home setting, and older woman in foregroundBeing able to use online banking is something Margaret has also adopted since having the tablet – she has also tried using PayPal but found some of the passwords tricky at first. Advice from AbilityNet’s in-person course at Radius Housing helped guide her on creating a suite of secure passwords. 

“The people from AbilityNet said to us, ‘Look, don't do the obvious thing, and write your password down somewhere, for someone else to find, any more than you would write your PIN down. Don't over-elaborate it. You don't need one for every application, but you need one or two strong ones. It was good advice.”

Margaret has also watched television on her tablet and finds it an excellent way to catch up on programmes she has missed, saying, “It broadens your horizons.”

Overall, having the tablet has built Margaret’s confidence in using technology, and she says she’s also using her phone more.

Do you need advice about avoiding scams?
Use our online resources to help arm yourself with knowledge to steer clear of online scams. 

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