03 Mar How To Teach Technology To Seniors
How To Teach Technology To Seniors
By Andrew Parker, Founder and CEO of Papa
You’re never too old to learn something new, even if it’s technology. In the ever-changing digital times, it’s difficult for seniors to learn how to use new devices on their own. A study from Pew research (www.pewinternet.org) found that 77 percent of older adults needed assistance when it came to learning how to use technology.
In the last year they also found that social networking almost doubled for people over the age of 50, growing from 22 percent to 42 percent. With assistance in learning technology, it shows that adding technology to your loved one’s life will benefit their life immensely. It’s important to have patience and use a step-by-step process when explaining technology to someone who’s unfamiliar with it.
Helpful ways you can teach aging adults in the digital age:
Explain the value
Showing a senior how easy it is to talk to a friend they haven’t seen in 7 years through Skype, or getting an email back within 10 minutes from a family member, helps them see the importance of technology and what it has to offer. Having them understand that this enhances their social life without needing to leave their house at all.
Use easy language
Be mindful of the word choice you’re using. The new words the Internet has created in our dictionary might not make sense to someone who barely uses a computer. Instead, ask them what they already know about technology so you can use analogies to what they’re already familiar with.
Take it slow
It’s always best to start small and have multiple sessions so you don’t give them information overload. The last thing you want to do is get them feeling too overwhelmed and then they give up because you gave them too many tasks to try by themselves.
Write it down
Since writing by hand is something that they are used to, get them a notebook specifically for writing down any steps they need to remember. If they get lost or forget how to do something, they can jog their memory from their own handwriting.
Patience is key
It’s important to stop a lot and take time for them to ask questions. The more engaged they are, the more they will take in and learn.
Give them confidence
Celebrate the small victories. Focus on the positives and what they are doing right and they will want to continue using it.
Show them free resources
TechBoomers (www.techboomers.com) and AARPTEK (www.aarptek.aarp.com) are two great websites that give free technology tutorials to help your loved ones. Visit the websites together and bookmark them so they have easy access to it. Make sure you watch a video or two together and practice the tutorial after so they can get comfortable using the sites when you aren’t around.
Get them used to technology
Games are a great way to get them engaged with technology. Maybe they love crossword puzzles, scrabble, or Sudoku. Download an app or give them a website and show them how to play from their device. This will help them get comfortable with using the buttons and touching the screen.
Talk about Internet safety
Show them the best practices on how to create strong passwords. Let them know to never put any personal information out through emails. If you address these issues and show them the best Internet safety, they will feel confident and not get taken advantage of.
About the Author:
Andrew Parker is the Founder and CEO of Papa, which provides older adults and families with curated companionship and care to support members socially and clinically. For more information, visit joinpapa.com.