October 19th, 2018
As get online week draws to a close, we look at the benefits of being online for carers.
Carers in Surrey of all ages regularly talk to us about feeling socially isolated, or finding it difficult to manage their finances. Many feel stressed out coping with the, often overwhelming, demands of everyday life. While the internet cannot fix all these problems, having the confidence to explore the online world might lead to finding some solutions that work for you.
The internet holds a wealth of information, most organisations will have some form of presence online so if you need to find out about anything from financial entitlements to supermarket offers, the internet is the place to go. Many carers find that their lives do not revolve around standard 9 to 5 work hours so being able to find answers whatever the time of day, is a big bonus.
With many banking and financial services available online it really does pay to do it over the internet. People using online tools will often have access to cheaper financial services (it’s more cost effective for organisations to run their businesses this way) and lots of institutions are moving towards a ‘digital by default’ model. This means you will often pick up a better deal on your essentials such as utilities, phones etc. Plus you can pay your bill at a time that suits you without having to drop into the post office or the local branch of your bank.
There’s been a lot about loneliness in the press recently. We are all prone to feeling isolated from time to time but if it’s hard for you to get out and meet people regularly then the likelihood is that you feel this even more. A great many carers who have mastered the skill of getting online report that it helps them feel connected to others and the world at large:
"My world became very, very small. I was very isolated until someone showed me basic computer skills and the world came to me. I could keep up with family, and I couldn't go anywhere, but at least on Google Earth, I could travel the world. I was really suffering with depression, but it helped me see that I wasn't alone. There's a whole world out there." - Kim Gallagher (full time carer)
Social media has a part to play but so does exploring the online world and finding areas of personal interest and like minded people.
If you were to look at a list of your weekly chores the chances are you would find something which would be made easier by doing it online. Whether it’s a weekly supermarket shop, renewing library books, booking a medical appointment, ordering a prescription, or arranging for some flowers to be delivered to a loved one - the possibilities are (almost!) endless. While there’s no substitute for a good catch up in person, getting online might just help reduce some day to day stress, help you connect with people and feel more in control of your situation.
We’ve included below a selection of websites and articles which might be useful.
BBC beginners guide to the online world - a great downloadable guide for those brand new to computing, if you know someone who would benefit from being online, it might be worth printing off a copy for them.
Get online week 2018 - some good info on the benefits of being online.
Surrey's get online week info - details of Surrey's get online week offering
NHS Choices - a comprehensive overview of NHS info and services
Surrey's Library services - create an account, renew and reserve books, find out about events at your local library.
Surrey's carer support - information about carer support services from Surrey
Benefits of getting online - great article in which Martha Lane Fox (internet champion) talks about the benefits of being online