1. Tips for getting through tough times
2. Tips for gadgets to help you stay connected
The Covid-19 lockdown saw us rushing around looking at how to get devices to some of the people in our Ageing Well Network who were left out and alone because they didn’t already have a phone or internet at home. Here are the best pieces of gadget and technology we found.
Not everyone wants to use a mobile phone and some people find them difficult to use because of physical or cognitive impairment. For those people, a simple landline connection and corded phone with large buttons is the best solution.
This Uniden phone (model FP098, $45)) is a good option. It is hearing aid-compatible, and the volume can be adjusted for both the handset and ringer. (A landline connection costs around $50 a month).
This basic flip phone currently comes with a free SIM card, which can include prepaid credit.
We gave one of these phones ($79) to a member of our Ageing Well Network during the Covid-19 lockdown, along with the Warehouse Mobile $16 Combo SIM, for no added cost. This includes 200 minutes and unlimited texts. (A small top-up may be needed every now and then to keep it active).
He’d never previously used a mobile phone – and he is loving it! He’s able to both make and receive calls easily, and keep in touch with everyone in the group. (We entered our contact list into the phone and did all the setting up before we gave it to him).
Low-cost, pre-paid broadband
If you can’t afford the cost of broadband internet, a Skinny Jump modem provides a low-cost alternative. It works like a pre-paid mobile phone and doesn’t require any special cabling or installation.
The modem uses a SIM card which can be topped up using a voucher or credit/debit card. It costs $5 for every 30GB, and you can top up to a maximum of 5 times per month. Since it’s a pre-pay system, there isn’t any danger of going over-budget. There are no credit checks, no contracts, and no cabling. All you need is a power plug.
This initiative is aimed at seniors, people with disabilities, and families in lower socio-economic areas. Go to the Skinny website to find the contact person in your area.
We’re still investigating which tablet works best for our network members. I-pads are great for older people but they are also more expensive than many other tablets. Watch this space for our recommendation.
Whatever tablet you choose, you’ll need to be able to connect to the internet to use it. Some tablets can do this using a SIM card which gives you the same kind of wifi access as a mobile phone. But it’s usually cheaper to get a modem installed at your house – perhaps through “Skinny Jump” option above.