Updated August 22, 2022 – Every time you create a new account somewhere these days, you have to create a password along with it. But using the same password for multiple accounts is not recommended. And it’s good practice to change your password for each account at least every year.
So, how do you keep up with all these passwords (and usernames too)?
No matter how old you are, keeping a track of passwords is just frustrating. So many programs and accounts need a password and it can be difficult to keep up with all of them. Everything from a bank account to an online game require passwords.
So how can older adults keep track of their passwords?
6 Solutions For Seniors to Help Them Remember Their Passwords
Data breaches can happen to anyone, and they often result in the theft of passwords. If you’re worried about your passwords being stolen, there are a few things you can do to help protect them.
These solutions can help you to create a secure and effective password system for yourself.
- writing down your information on index cards, spreadsheets, journal, mobile devices
- store them on an excel sheet on your computer
- using third party programs like LastPass or mobile apps
- save your passwords through your web browser
- create a “secret” email account
- using gadgets to keep track of your passwords
We all know that best practices say to use a conglomeration of letters, numbers and symbols and we also know that we should create different passwords about every 6 months or so. Yes, that means you should create a new password for each of your accounts every 6 months.
This is a difficult task for anyone, no matter what your age. But, as we all grow older, we do tend to have more difficulty remembering things so the task of recalling passwords for all the programs that we need to use can be overwhelming.
If you are looking for ways to help yourself or an elderly parent or senior loved ones to remember their login information, usernames and passwords then read on.
1. The Pen And Paper Method
There are many benefits to keeping a password book. This method is recommended for it’s ease of use for many seniors. My mom-in-law uses this method and I have to admit, I do too for some specific accounts. It’s a nice free option.
Create a central location to write down the name of the program, the username and password. It could be a journal, a Rolodex of index cards, an address book, anything that can be organized in such a way so that it’s easy for someone to find what they are looking for.
You don’t want to just jot down this important information on a piece of paper!
Don’t forget to also include any other information such as pin numbers, credit card numbers, etc. Not all programs require this but if they do, it’s important to include those in your list.
There’s a great little password Book for seniors that would make a nice gift for someone!
An important thing to remember if you use this method is to keep these secure notes in a safe place, preferably a secure vault. At least a hidden place so that it won’t be stolen in case of a break in.
2. Store Them On An Excel Sheet On Your Computer
If you use flash drives on your computer (and you should) that is a great place to store a spreadsheet of your passwords and usernames and any other data you need for each account.
File storage is important for keeping track of your passwords. By saving your passwords in a file on your computer or phone, you can keep them safe and easy to access. Make sure to use a strong password to protect the file, and be sure to back it up in case your device is lost or damaged.
3. Third Party Password Manager Programs
Third party programs are generally online accounts and/or apps that you purchase and usually pay a monthly fee. They are a secure way to save passwords in an encrypted vault online but if your senior loved one has trouble accessing those programs then it’s not a viable option.
There is no one single device that I can recommend, it really all depends on how easy the program or gadget is to use for the person using it.
For some older adults, this method with digital vaults may be an easy way to store and access their passwords but for others, using these online programs may be problematic.
Some of the best password managers that we recommend are…
- Last Pass
All of these password management programs offer similar services and are fairly low cost for what you get, so they are a good bang for your buck. Some may even offer a free plan as a trial – so check them out.
I would recommend to avoid using any password manager that are free to use. Reason is that they may not be as secure as the program that you pay for. Check the reviews before you purchase.
Some of the versions with a free trial allow you to store unlimited passwords so review each one to find the one that suits you the best. You may even find that the family plan some offer will work better for you.
Any one of these programs can work very well for you so take some time to look over each one to see what price plan and set of features works best for you, your family and your senior loved ones.
Device type is an important factor to consider when choosing a password manager. Some managers are only available as desktop or mobile apps, while others have web-based versions as well. If you know you’ll only be using the password manager on your phone, for example, it might be worth looking for one that has a mobile app.
If you’re not sure which type of device you’ll be using, or if you’ll be using multiple devices, go with a manager that has a web-based and mobile app version. That way, you’ll be able to use it on any device.
The beauty of the Easeenet dedicated password manager program is that it’s tailored specifically for non-techies and provides the kind of dashboard / interface that makes navigating the Internet much easier – especially for older adults.
An additional feature, which I think is great, is the legacy contact. So, if anything happens to you, all the information in your Easeenet account is easily accessible by the person you designate as your legacy contact.
Believe me, this is something I would have loved to have after my husband passed away suddenly. Trying to find accounts and passwords was a stress that I didn’t need at that time.
Has a multitude of services for both personal and businesses. It generates passwords for you, gives you the option to log in with facial recognition or your fingerprint. Can work on one device or more.
Has a free 30 day trial and is quite inexpensive for all that it offers you!
The LastPass program is probably one of the most well known password managers available.
Like the other programs we mention, it’s cost is quite low and they offer 3 different price plans for personal use. They even have a free version for one user!
The Enpass program has a free version for their Desktop application but again, to get the more robust programs, the price is fairly low.
The extra feature that Enpass offers is that they also work to protect your credit cards, your identity, social security and other personal data. This might be a very handy service for some older adults.
The 1Password program is very easy to use for all age groups so this may be a good option for older adults who have problems using apps and software.
Just like all the other password managers it works to keep your information encrypted and secure.
The Dashlane program saves your passwords and other personal information such as your credit card and other details.
It basically works to make what you do online much easier, faster and safer.
Like some of the other password manager programs, LogMeOnce offers additional security services – again for a fairly low price considering the multitude of protection that you get.
This program offers a password manager, identity theft protection and a cloud encrypter all rolled into one!
4. Web Browser
All three web browsers that most of us use, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Google Chrome give you the option to save passwords which can auto populate the page so that you don’t have to enter the information each time.
You can also access this list of saved passwords if needed. But again, if the elderly person cannot access this list of saved passwords, it won’t help in the long run. Unless of course they have someone who can help them with this.
Don’t forget that you can also store this information in the web browser of your apple or android phone as well.
Personally, I don’t recommend this method simply because it’s not very safe and could be susceptible to being stolen via malware.
5. Secret Email Account
This technique is an overall good technique not just for passwords but for any type of sensitive information of yours that is online.
The basic idea is to create a separate email address that is ONLY used for things like your bank, your auto insurance company, your health care company, financial planner, etc. This helps to keep this sensitive information in a more secure place (vs. having everything jumbled together in one email).
So, to use this to remember passwords you could keep your passwords list on a spreadsheet on your computer and then email that list to this particular email account.
As you update and change your passwords – you would re-send an updated version and of course, delete the older ones.
I can’t write this article without including gadgets that can help you to remember passwords and keep them safe too.
Encrypted USB Flashdrive – another option for computers is to use a USB flashdrive – this particular one is encrypted making it extra secure.
Whichever method you use, choose the one(s) that work for you. The best way to keep track of all these usernames and passwords is whatever is the easiest way for you.
Password Creation Techniques
Weak passwords are also something that you want to avoid. Here are some tips on how to create strong passwords that you can remember.
We all know (well, most of us at least) that secure passwords these days need to be a combination of letters, numbers and symbols. The idea is to make it as difficult as possible to figure out what the password might be.
But for seniors who want to recall unique passwords, whether it’s a master password or not, it’s very difficult to remember this combination.
Now, you can use a password generator like this one but oftentimes, that creates a jumble of letters, numbers and symbols that you may find very difficult to remember.
So, a trick I read once a while ago was to use a complete sentence. Something like…
The name of my dog when I as 10 was Snoopy.
My wife and I went to Hawaii for our honeymoon in 1955.
As long as they are able to remember the sentence they used, then this trick will work.
I would recommend to avoid using things like family member names, pet names, birth dates, house numbers, etc. Any information that is already tied to your name (and can be easily found online) should not be used as your password.
For Added Security
One recommendation I would make for some added security for your accounts is to use the two-factor authentication (2FA) or the multi-factor authentication (MFA) if it’s provided of course.
“Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is a type of authentication that requires two or more factors of authentication.
Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) is a type of authentication that requires exactly two factors of authentication.” – rublon.com
Basically, when this is activated, it will send a code via text to your mobile phone and you will need to use that code to gain entry into your account. This is in addition to using your login credentials.
It’s a good extra layer of protection.
Another thing that I want to also advise you on is to share where you store your passwords with family members or at the very least, your elder law attorney. You want to make it easy for others to get into your accounts if anything were to happen to you.