Happy Birthday World Wide Web! Are Your Senior Loved Ones at the Party?

The World Wide Web is said to have been “born” in 1989, when Tim Berners-Lee worked to bring to life his concept of an information management system with a structure more like a spider’s web than was in use for the then-internet.

Thank you, Tim Berners-Lee!

While there is more than a generation of Americans who don’t know a time without the web, there are many of us who learned a way of doing things (or not) in a web-less time. I, for one, have many times thought about how different school and work would have been had the web been there earlier. I’m not just referring to that annoying modem connection sound that sometimes kept going and going.

Many older adults have yet to join the party, though that number is steadily declining.

Internet Changed – & Still Changing – Our Lives

An overwhelming majority of Americans’ lives have been changed by the internet (while the web and internet are not the same thing, we realize most people say “internet” when referring to the web) and most would say for the better. Just think about some of ways we do things differently now because we have the internet.

  • The way we communicate with one another has changed dramatically, with email having replaced postal (now called “snail”) mail for many communications. Some argue we have lost something by replacing some phone calls with email, but the internet has also made it possible to make phone calls, whether across town or around the world, without using the phone company. The internet has also allowed us to improve on the call itself, as Facetime, Skype and other applications bring us closer together with video calls.
  • Our work life has been changed forever, with more information available more quickly to perform our jobs; communications and information sharing tools bringing together distant coworkers in real time; and, more ways to share information and interact with current and potential customers. Of course, the internet has made it harder for many to leave work behind at the end of the workday because communications – and problems – can follow us readily around the clock.
  • Entertainment delivery has been revolutionized by the web. In the past we could watch what the broadcasters offered on our TV when they offered it, though we could record it for viewing later. Now we have the ability, via the web, not just to watch WHAT we want, WHEN we want it but to watch it WHERE and HOW we want, with the ability to stream to our computers and mobile devices. Who would have thought that the race to ever-bigger TV screens would be accompanied by huge growth in people watching on screens we hold in our hands?
  • Getting news and information about our community and the world around us is dramatically different as a result of the internet. No longer do we have to wait for a daily newspaper or scheduled broadcasts to learn what is happening, nor we have to limit ourselves to what those sources have to say about the news. On the other hand, sometimes we are overwhelmed with the information that’s available and struggle to decide which is fact, which is painted by opinion, and which is flat-out incorrect — sometimes intentionally so.
  • Managing our health and that of our loved ones is another aspect of our lives that has been revolutionized by the web — and we have only scratched the surface on the health benefits the internet can help us achieve. Sure there is a lot more information available to help understand (or misunderstand if we look to the wrong sources) our heath, but that’s just the beginning. The web, including social media sites, is also enabling us to share our experiences with others for support and education. While still in the early phases now, the internet will totally revolutionize the way we interact, share data and receive care from our healthcare providers and other caregivers.

These are just some of the many ways the web has already changed our lives forever — and innovators are continuing to find new ones.

Many Seniors Still Not on the Web

Seniors are increasingly connecting to and becoming active on the web, with 57% of seniors online in 2014 according to the latest survey from Pew Research Center. While improving, that is still far behind other age groups.

There are the same benefits for seniors of being on the internet as for other age groups, with seniors in some cases finding the internet enhances their lives even more. Older adults, as greater consumers of healthcare, have the greatest opportunity to see that care enhanced as innovation continues — but only if they are on the web.

At Senior Care Corner we see the internet and all it offers and will offer being a real asset to seniors who wish to live independently at home, as it will allow more to do so comfortably and safely longer than many seniors can do so today. We hope everyone will invite their senior loved ones to the party if they’re not there already — and help them get there, too!

Happy Birthday, World Wide Web – – and may you have many, many more!