Portal or Pot-Hole...
from an article submitted by Margaret Easton EPC,
Port Coquitlam, BC to CIEPS, Dec 18, 2013
As we grow older, we encounter a number of legal issues that weren't
previously relevant. These emerging legal issues include access to
justice in a wide range of areas such as health care, work and
retirement, family law, discrimination and stereotyping, and autonomy
and independence. While the law-related needs of older individuals are
significant, access is often restricted by barriers such as ageist
discrimination, poverty, disability, and limited access to technology.
An emerging barrier that most of us are less familiar with is that
presented by the current trend to increasingly refer older adults to the
internet for legal information and advice. In an article this month in
the journal, Ageing and Society, entitled "Portal or pot-hole?
Exploring how older people use the information highway for advice
relating to problems with a legal dimension," the authors point to a
number of issues of particular relevance to lawyers, bankers, financial
advisors and even the medical profession. I am attaching the abstract
below with full details on how to access the entire article for those
who want to explore this topic in greater detail.
"As an increasing number of Government services have moved away from
traditional modes of provision to online formats, there has been a
corresponding need to ensure greater access to the internet. Although
older people (those over 60) are least likely of all age groups to have
access to the internet in their homes, the internet holds much potential
as an information and advice resource for those older people who may
find it difficult to access advice over the telephone or in person.
Realising this potential extends beyond issues of physical access,
consideration must necessarily be given to issues of internet literacy
and the inclination of this cohort to utilize what may be new and
This paper examines these matters in the context of the resolution of
everyday problems with a legal dimension. Looking first at the use of
the internet for information and advice seeking related to such
problems, we find that those aged over 60 demonstrate the least use of
the internet for problems with a legal dimension. Simultaneously, those
aged over 60 are also the group with the lowest level of home access - a
particular issue given that for over 60-year-olds, home access is a far
stronger determinant of internet use for problems than it is for other
Examining use of the internet for advice seeking over the last decade,
findings demonstrate the existence of a general increase in use amongst
all age groups over time, albeit with a lower rate of growth amongst
those currently over 60. As an indication of future growth, this will
have implications for the provision of services. Whilst the 'young old'
will utilize the internet to a greater degree and will require websites
which are tailored to their needs, those individuals at the older end of
the age spectrum may best be served by continued access to face-to-face
or outreach advice. As yet, little is known about how people search
online for information. Our results suggest that successfully obtaining
information online, particularly where this information is orientated
towards independent problem resolution, is not as easy as it appears.
This is a finding that has relevance for the delivery of legal advice
and information in all jurisdictions."
First Monday business magazine, February 2014
Things elders will never forget
I've attended a good number of funerals lately, almost exclusively those
of people in their 80's. We can expect this trend for the next twenty
years. Why? Despite increases in personal longevity, the number of
funerals celebrated per year, as a percentage of our population, is
steadily rising. It seems counterintuitive to expect to grow older but
to, at the same time, find yourself attending more funeral celebrations.
The fact is that living longer doesn't enable any one of us to avoid the
inevitable. Once we reach life expectancy, we still have to confront
mortality. What is different about the coming 20-30 year period is that
soon, it'll be our largest demographic group, the boomers, who'll be the
ones reaching their elongated, life expectancies. While this trend
spells good news economically for morticians and other businesses, on a
personal level, it will be challenging to say goodbye to more and more
of our loved ones yearly and to remain interested in attending more
frequent funeral celebrations. Funerals can be difficult, emotionally
speaking. No one enjoys the state of verbal paralysis often experienced
when trying to comfort a friend or family member who has just lost a
parent or a loved one. It doesn't seem to matter how many years we've
been blessed to enjoy them we're never fully prepared to see our time
with them ended. What can help in this regard?
For one thing, having few regrets regarding how we spent our time with
those we love while they were living. While perhaps easier said than
done, here's a sampling of some qualities to foster between ourselves
and our loved ones to make rich the available time we have with those
elders who yet remain in our lives. While not a complete list, fostering
the following qualities now might prove indispensable to our being able
to celebrate well, their eventual passing.
Affirmation: Let them know how much you appreciate them and remind them
of this often.
Forgiveness: Life's not perfect. Past hurts can linger for too long,
confront them/say that you are sorry.
Attention: Whether a phone call, an email or a visit, increase the
frequency of their being thought of.
Optimism: Elders can have many personal trials as they age, choose to
focus on what remains positive.
Wonder: Time with them outdoors, visits to aquariums and zoos. Put up a
bird feeder or get them a pet?
Affection: Elders appreciate affection through physical touch eg. hugs &
kisses, a back or foot massage.
Purpose: Life moves fast, intentionally doing things for them means you
chose their needs over others.
Intimacy: Choose to plan a meal together where you give them your
Pride: Thank them for lessons learned or qualities appreciated that you
attribute to their influence.
Humour: We can take ourselves too seriously. Find ways to laugh
together: Old videos/pictures/games.
Spiritual: All of us have expectations/fears about our last days? Give
voice to what they'd like to discuss.
Time: There is never enough and it is always challenged. Who or what are
you spending yours on?
Desire: Do your elder loved ones feel welcome among you and yours in the
various events of your life?
That's enough soul searching! The point has likely been made. We're all
made of the same stuff. Regardless of how our personal situations
differ, working to foster some of the above qualities will go a long way
towards being able to say a warm, fond farewell to those we love one
day, with no regrets