16 January, 2020
5 ways to help seniors with technology in a digital world
Today’s world is filled with an ever-expanding array of digital gadgets and it can be tough for older people to keep up. Here are five easy ways for teaching technology to seniors.
For millions of Australians, advances in technology have made life a lot easier, whether that’s connecting with friends via social media, shopping via e-retailers or just finding out what’s on in your local community without needing to step outside thanks to the internet.
As new tech-based ways of doing things replace traditional methods, older people can feel left behind. Thankfully, there are some easy strategies that can help seniors use and enjoy technology.
1. Explain the value
It’s one thing telling a senior how to use a piece of new tech, but often you can get better results if you take a moment to explain how the innovation can be relevant to them.
Take Skype as an example. Instead of just listing Skype’s features and showing them how to use it, demonstrate how great it is for connecting with friends and family without leaving the house. Schedule in a demo run-through with a loved one who is interstate or overseas to show just how valuable it can be for staying in regular contact with people who you may not see face-to-face often enough.
2. Connect tech language with familiar concepts
Attempting to explain new tech as something that’s completely novel can be overwhelming, especially for some older people who are more familiar with older forms of technology. Try to choose ways of explaining concepts that tap into the real world. For instance, instead of describing web navigation as a series of links and URLs, you could try likening it to navigating through a set of connected streets and suburbs.
3. Use plain language
Technology is a space that’s full of jargon. You might not even be aware of how much tech gobbledygook there is because it’s such a part of everyday life. But for those in older generations this tech specific language can be another barrier to jumping online or using apps that can improve quality of life. So before teaching anything at all, ask the person you’re working with what they already know about technology so you can use language and concepts that match their level of knowledge.
4. Take it slow and write it down
Another useful tip is not to rush your instruction. Don’t presume a level of base knowledge when it comes to seniors and tech -- it varies greatly. With this in mind, it’s always best to have multiple sessions that don’t last too long so you avoid information overload. Offer breaks for tea and a chat away from the tech, and write the steps clearly for the senior you are teaching to refresh their memory. Taking this approach will help to make sure they don’t feel too overwhelmed by the process and are keen to keep learning with you.
5. Suggest using senior-specific tech
It can be an uphill battle teaching how to use technology if the person you’re working with can’t see how it benefits them. For seniors, it can help to be clear about the upside to using technology for people at their stage of life. There are some fantastic tech solutions out there for medication management and health-monitoring.
Here are some useful apps for seniors:
Red Panic Button – a distress and safety app that sends alerts to family and friends whenever the senior has had a fall or is need of assistance.
Pillboxie – an app that allows the senior to visually manage their medications in a fun way.
Find My iPhone – if a senior loses their mobile phone, it will make it a whole lot easier to track down if Find My iPhone has been installed.
For more information on what technology for seniors can help you or a loved one don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team at Focus Care.