Written By Luke Beer, Harewood College
As a teenager in the UK and with older grandparents, I see first hand the delights of having elderly relatives. Their wisdom, experiences and humour are just some things that I see as unique amongst the UK’s elderly population. However, some may suggest that our elderly population is just a nameless burden on our resources. It seems as though we think of them as a separate society with whom we share nothing but a language.
Obviously this is not true and we have much to thank the past generations for. Not just saving us from invasion and providing us with the society we have inherited but, also their principles and set of values that have been passed down through generations. They are our gateway to our personal history who have earned the respect they deserve. I feel as though we have lost the links between these generations because of our shifting society.
The rise of technology in our society has been well documented. Many people now rely on this technology in their daily life. Unfortunately, many of our elderly population cannot keep up with the speed of change and have begun to lose touch.
However, Barclays are now offering a new service called ‘Digital Eagles’. This new service is free, and available to anyone, even those who do not bank with Barclays. If you visit a branch of the bank you can talk to one of their ‘Digital Eagles’ and the can offer guidance on how to use the Internet, using plain English so there is no jargon, for shopping, banking, sending emails and how to stay secure when using the internet.
I believe that this service could provide the elderly with the chance to connect once more with the younger generation, so that we return to being a more elderly-friendly society, providing an easier way to connect with each other and stop what I see as a distancing between generations.
Once the elderly have a reasonable understanding of technology they will be able to talk to their younger relatives at any time without the hassle of visits. It allows the elderly to become closer with grandchildren, such as myself, and other young people because they can be available 24/7, which can help to build a relationship without anyone else having to interfere.
However, we cannot send the elderly in blind because they are not as confident on the Internet as others and this can leave them more vulnerable to cyber crime. It has been widely recognised that the elderly are more vulnerable and this can be associated with symptoms, which a study by Shelley Taylor of the University of California have highlighted. In some cases it was discovered that some of us begin to lose our ‘gut feeling’, which is caused by a physical sensation that creates a reaction in our brain, that we call ‘gut feeling’.
In one of the studies, the researchers asked 119 people between 55 and 84 and 24 and younger to view a stack of thirty photographs of faces that had been rated by another lab according to how trustworthy the individuals looked. They were rated as trustworthy, neutral and untrustworthy.
When faces in the photos were trustworthy or neutral, the older adults’ responses were very similar to those of younger adults. But when viewing faces rated as untrustworthy, the older adults were less likely to pick up on cues.