Internet for senior citizens – guaranteed by law
The Internet connects people, provides information, offers services and can provide entertainment. And anyone who thinks senior citizens have no interest in it, whether or not they need care, is making a huge mistake. Demand at residential facilities and nursing homes is rising steadily. This has been recognised in law for the first time in the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
Only a third of homes for senior citizens in Germany have WiFi, and more and more Silver Surfers – as Internet-savvy senior citizens are affectionately known – are demanding it. Older people do of course use smartphones, tablets and laptops, and naturally they do not want to live without their gadgets despite their advancing years. These devices make it possible for them to still have a social life, especially when their families live some distance away and their friends and acquaintances are not mobile. Information on communal sports and leisure activities at residential facilities or nursing homes can be sent directly to residents’ devices by email, or they can be redirected to the homes’ own landing pages. Each provider decides whether Internet access is provided free of charge, or whether residents have to buy access or the cost of it is integrated directly into the fees for the home.
However, the residents aren’t the only ones to benefit from Internet access: nursing staff and other personnel benefit as well. In future, the topic of smart homes will also have a part to play in this regard, as well the exchange of medical data or building and room technology.
This is why the Housing and Participation Act was amended accordingly in North Rhine-Westphalia in April 2019. Specifically, paragraph 5 stipulates that the technical requirements for the use of Internet access have to be met.
(3) The technical requirements for the use of Internet access must be in place in all individual and communal areas.
It remains to be seen whether this law will serve as a model for other German federal states. However, it is clear that nothing is going to change in terms of increasing demand, and WiFi is ideal for providing inexpensive online access for people with mobile devices. By the way: the IACBOX is ideal for use in the health and care sector. It offers service through easy registration, various payment and billing options, interfaces and ticket groups for different classes. It is already in use in numerous residential facilities and care homes, and its convenience for users and easy administration impress both residents and operators.