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8 Tips to Help Seniors Learn Technology
As more and more of the world becomes interconnected with smart phones and social media, knowing and understanding how to use technology is becoming an increasingly important skill.
Many seniors may feel left behind as things become digital, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t start learning how to use technology. After all, everyone starts with no knowledge of how to use a computer or a cell phone.
By taking the proper steps, you can help a senior learn how to use technology and integrate it into their daily life. Here are some tips to help seniors learn and adapt to technology.
Explain the Benefits
Many older adults may be hesitant to use a cell phone or computer primarily because they don’t understand its benefits.
However, explaining the benefits of technology to a senior can make them interested in learning more about it. They may be unaware that they can video call their family or listen to their favorite songs whenever they want.
For example, if someone likes to read newspapers, telling them that they can read articles from their favorite journal online might make them more interested in using the internet.
Take time to understand the interests and goals that someone would want to accomplish by using technology. Then, explain how technology can make it easier for them to achieve those goals to help spark interest in learning.
There will be different aspects of technology a senior may encounter for the first time, from understanding web browsers to making a computer talk to them. It can take some time to learn all of it, and your loved one will have many questions about how everything works.
Being patient with a senior student is crucial to helping them learn. You should act as a guide for them, answering their questions and showing them the easiest way to accomplish a task.
Another reason patience is important is because a senior might ask repetitive questions or need to be shown something again. However, remaining patient can help motivate and encourage them to understand how to use technology. Give them friendly feedback and always be willing to help whenever they are interested in learning.
Explain Concepts Simply
One way to help seniors learn technology is by explaining different concepts in a simple manner.
A senior will not immediately understand terms such as “web browser,” “cookies,” “mouse,” and “portal.” They may have a hard time associating these words with aspects of technology, and this could confuse them quickly if you approach teaching them with jargon.
Explain the concepts of the internet in the simplest way possible and break down each topic into small parts. Avoid over-complicating steps, as that can make someone feel like they are unable to follow along with the process.
Let Them Do It Themselves
Many people learn how to use computers and phones by interacting with them. While it is easy to present someone the steps on how to use technology, they won’t necessarily learn how to use it to the fullest until they try it.
Allowing a senior to try technology and explore their curiosity can help them learn faster. Let them interact with different aspects of devices and ask questions about the functions a computer or phone offers.
If the person you’re teaching needs help, always have them do the task while you explain it to them. This will help them internalize the steps and make them feel accomplished in what they needed to learn.
Enroll in a Class
Some seniors might learn technology best in a class setting. There are many classes available that offer resources to help seniors learn technology through senior centers, community colleges, and nonprofit organizations.
One benefit of enrolling a senior loved one into a class is they will have the opportunity to learn how to use technology alongside other people their age. They can explore and collaborate with other seniors to learn different functions of devices, from using the internet to browsing articles to downloading apps.
Some senior technology classes are free while others may require a small fee. There are also online class options available if there are none in your local area.
Talk About Security
Another important aspect of teaching a senior about technology is helping them navigate the security aspect.
For example, explain to them that they should never write their username, password, or other personal information on anything else but a login screen. If these are difficult for them to remember, set up a password manager that can help them log into the different platforms that they will be using.
You should also inform the person you are teaching to never respond to spam emails or click on things that they are unsure of. Explain how the internet can be used to scam and collect information from people. You can also always offer to look at their computer if they have any questions about the legitimacy of what they find online.
Take it Slow
As a senior becomes used to technology, it’s important to break up the sessions into different parts. This will help them to better remember their technology lessons and allow them to slowly integrate computers and phones into their life.
You can start by teaching them how to interact with a screen by setting up Sudoku or a word cross puzzle. Then, you can move on to other concepts such as creating a social media account or using the internet to shop.
Encourage your loved one to write down the steps of something new that they discover. This can help them in the future when they need help remembering the steps.
Over time, someone will become more confident with technology as they use it more and more. Give them positive feedback as they accomplish each step, and encourage them to continue to explore technology.
Adjust Devices to Meet Their Needs
Many seniors may need their computer or phone to be adjusted in order to meet their needs.
For example, if your loved one struggles with their vision, there is a way to make the text bigger on the screen. You can also set up a device to read text out loud.
Many older adults also have arthritis, which can impact their ability to use a keyboard and mouse. There are touch devices that are more suitable to their needs, as well as equipment you can purchase to make using technology more user-friendly.
Assess your loved one’s physical needs and how you will need to adjust the technology devices that best suit their capabilities.
Saber Healthcare and Technology
Saber Healthcare Group has utilized technology to help seniors stay in touch with their friends and family during the pandemic through Facetime and Zoom platforms. Our teams have also used technology to hold zoom church services, bible studies, and lifelong learning programs.
Technology plays a part in the Saber seniors’ lives with the use of smart TV’s, iPads, tablets and smart phones to watch movies, surf the web, read, and play games.To learn more about our company and services we provide, click here.
Saber Healthcare is an organization dedicated to providing consultant services to long term care providers. This article is for informational purposes and is not meant to be seen as professional advice. Please consult with a medical expert before relying on the information provided.