It has never been more critical for people to be able to use technology. As the scope and capabilities of technology increase, so does its prevalence in our day-to-day life. Unfortunately, at the same time, it also continues to grow more complex for those who have not kept up with the advancement of modern technology. While many people love the diverse array of functions and capabilities we now carry at our fingertips, those who haven’t been utilizing and keeping up with technology might now find it challenging to catch up.
There are countless reasons why seniors might have chosen not to utilize modern tech like smartphones and laptops. They might have found it overwhelming, might not have seen the benefit, or might have had concerns about internet safety. Whatever the reason, it doesn’t change the fact that they could very likely benefit from the connectivity, entertainment, and managerial capabilities that our phones, laptops, and the internet can offer.
6 Ways You Can Help Seniors Learn Technology
If you know a senior who is having trouble learning technology, you are in the right place. Helping seniors learn new technology can be a challenge, but anyone can do it when armed with patience and the right tips, tricks, and knowledge. We’ve provided six tips that you can use to help seniors learn new technology.
Emphasize the Benefits Associated With Technology
The reason why many seniors have fallen behind with modern technology is that they were never motivated to use it in the first place. Our parents and grandparents grew up with maybe a single telephone and a single TV. They got along just fine without laptops and tablets and the internet, and they simply haven’t seen a reason to try and learn some complicated new technology. This brings us to our first piece of advice: Motivate them to want to learn new technology by emphasizing the benefits that they could enjoy.
There are countless benefits associated with modern technology, including increased connectivity, endless entertainment, streamlined day-to-day processes, and a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips. Help them see that by learning new technology they could:
- Facetime their grandkids and friends
- Follow their family’s life updates on social media
- Watch any TV show they could dream of (without commercials!)
- Skip trips to the bank by handling their banking online
- Have groceries sent straight to their door
- Find seemingly infinite recipes to try
- Find instructions to fix or build just about anything
One of the most important benefits of technology is increased connectivity. This has never been more important than it is now during the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. As travel and social gatherings have become more risky and more complicated, technology can offer an effective solution to help friends and family stay close, even if only virtually.
Ditch the Technical Terminology
When teaching seniors technology, it is important to ditch the technical terminology. Technical terminology often has a way of making explanations sound more complicated than they actually are. As they are embarking on this educational journey, they are likely feeling a little bit overwhelmed. By speaking in terms that they are familiar with, you can help them understand and relate to the technology more easily. Then, once the processes you were teaching them are understood, you can circle back in introduce them to the technical term. This will help them better understand what the technical terminology means and how it relates to the other words they might hear. It is an excellent way to avoid overwhelming them with a large quantity of new information.
Build Your Education From The Ground Up
Another effective way to avoid overwhelming them when teaching seniors technology is to start with the basics. For example, before showing them how to access their bank account online, it is best to make sure that they can unlock their laptop and navigate to their browser first. Understanding each step of the process and how it relates to the next step can simplify the learning process and help your lesson stick.
Repetition, Repetition, Repetition
When learning new technology, it’s likely that going over it one time will not be enough. It’s a lot of new information, and you should expect to revisit the same topic more than once. This is okay! It’s part of the process, and the more times you visit the same topic, the more likely it is to stick in their memory.
Repetition isn’t just about the learning process. Regularly applying the lesson you’ve shared is another great way to make it stick. If you’ve just shown them how to navigate to their favorite TV show on a streaming service, have them do it multiple times and encourage them to do so again throughout the next couple of days. It can be easy to forget information that we never use!
Highlight the Dangers of Sharing Information Online
While we don’t want to intimidate seniors with the risks associated with information sharing on the internet, it is important that we emphasize the potential dangers of sharing personal information online. Seniors are often the target of scams, and there are countless malicious websites, pop-ups, and malware out there designed to steal your personal information, money, and identity. Highlight the potential dangers and warning signs of untrustworthy websites, as well as best practices for giving out personal information like their name, phone number, payment information, and social security number.
If simply emphasizing the dangers associated with sharing information online doesn’t seem like a sufficient solution, there are apps, plug-ins, and services you can add to their devices to help steer them away from potential dangers and minimize their risk of falling into an online scam. Companies like McAfee are devoted to providing protection for those navigating the internet.
Invest In A Class Devoted to Teaching Seniors Technology
If you are not feeling up to the challenge of teaching your elderly friend or family how to use the technology, numerous other resources can provide tech help for seniors. There are a wide variety of classes devoted to teaching seniors technology. These classes are widely available both in-person and online, and are designed to help seniors gain confidence in their ability to use technology and navigate the internet.
These classes are an excellent solution. They are taught by people with experience teaching seniors how to use technology, meaning that the staff is aware of the common questions that seniors have and the hiccups that they might face during the process. They are prepared to accurately answer and navigate them through these challenges. The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) is just one of many organizations providing education and training on the subject.
Greater Independence For Seniors Through Technology
Teaching our elderly friends and family members to utilize technology can lead to numerous benefits throughout many different facets of their lives, including a closer connection with loved ones, reduced time and effort on day-to-day tasks, and endless entertainment and knowledge at their disposal. These benefits can even help seniors age in place to achieve greater independence through the tools at their disposal on their phones and laptops. The benefits of adopting new technology are seemingly endless for seniors; we hope that you find success in your education and that they find success in their utilization of our modern tools.