COVID-19 Alert: Manage caregiver stress during this health crisis. Learn More.
Call 888-575-0946 for Home Instead services in your area.
Sharing is Caring:

Conversation Starters: How to Know if an Older Adult is Vulnerable

Find home care near you or your loved one:

Older adults can feel self-conscious about their lack of knowledge when it comes to computer issues. After all, any perceived inability could threaten a senior’s independence. Often all a senior needs is someone to help him or her.

Family caregivers can open the door to a better understanding of their senior loved one’s cyber knowledge and assist with tasks that might help better protect them. Suggest they take the “Quiz: Can You Spot an Online Scam?” to test their cybersecurity knowledge.

These conversation starters also could help:

  • “Mom, why don’t you ask your grandson to help you take care of those software update notices you were seeing. He would love to stop by to make sure your computer is in great working order. I know how you enjoy staying in touch with family and friends and we want to make sure you are safe online.”
  • “Do you get a lot of spam emails, Dad? I’ve heard that some of them can be dangerous. Can I show you how to identify emails to avoid and how to set up your spam filter?”
  • “I’ve heard something interesting on the news the other day, Grandma. They say criminals are posing as IRS agents and sending out emails demanding money. Let me tell you what to look for so you can delete those emails if you ever get one.”
  • “You know, Mom, passwords are very important to making sure that criminals aren’t able to get into your computer and even your telephone. I know you’re worried about being able to remember them, but why don’t we work out a system to help you create stronger passwords that you can remember or a cheat sheet you can reference.”
  • “I noticed you posted a great photo of Megan on Facebook the other day, Mom, that shows where she lives. I know you are proud of your granddaughter, but I’m sure you also want to keep her safe. Those kinds of details in the wrong hands could put her in danger. Can we talk about the specifics to avoid on Facebook that could put you and others in the family at risk?”

To learn more about how older adults can protect themselves online, check out the resources at

Last revised: February 8, 2017

Get helpful tips and articles like these delivered to your email.

Share your thoughts, stories and comments:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *