A Guide for Teaching Seniors Everyday Tech Skills
A survey by Pew Research found that seniors are often slower to adapt to technology because of the higher barrier for entry. They may experience physical challenges to using technology, have skeptical attitudes about its benefits and experience difficulty learning new technology. But the good news is once they adapt, technology usually becomes an integral part of their lives.
Give your seniors the tools they need to master technology by giving them one-on-one attention and support. Start off slow and only with the necessary devices and apps they really need and would benefit them most. As their confidence grows, they’re likely to pick-up new technology on their own. Get started with this guide for teaching seniors everyday tech skills they can start using today.
Understand Their Goals
Don’t assume that seniors want to learn technology so they can stay connected or get a leg-up at work. Instead, they may simply want to play brain games online, watch videos of loved ones or track their fitness.
Once you understand their goals, come up with a game plan on what kind of education and devices they need. For example, Lively Mobile can help track steps and fitness, while monitoring for falls and keeping caregivers updated on any medical emergencies. Meanwhile, Wii bowling can help get even senior couch potatoes moving and lower their heart rate. It’s also wise to lead them to new goals they have not considered, like being prompted to take their medicine, and being able to connect with a nurse or doctor online.
Get the Right Devices
The senior in your life doesn’t need outdated tech just because it’s new to them. Instead, get them tech that’s updated and easy to use. T-Mobile offers the latest flip phones for seniors who just want to make calls. Or you can upgrade their experience with an iPhone that’s intuitive to navigate. A senior with hand tremors could benefit from an iPhone where 3-D touch makes it easier to navigate.
If your senior is all set on a phone and tablet, think about how devices can simplify their lives. An Amazon Echo can help seniors suffering from memory loss with the date and time, and how far it is to drive to their doctor’s appointment. Meanwhile, the HERO pill smart dispenser can manage medication and vitamins so there’s no risk of forgetting or taking too many.
Keep Them Connected
Put your senior’s devices to good use by keeping them well-connected and ready to socialize. Make a date to launch a video call every evening, or ask them to send videos from their day with friends or at the park.
Social media can also help seniors stay connected and combat loneliness. And they’re in good company. According to Pew Research, 62 percent of adults ages 65 and older are now on Facebook. Seniors can catch-up with friends and family, watch videos, join Facebook groups in their community and even launch video calls right from its messaging app.
Enroll Them in a Class
Despite your best teaching efforts, the senior citizen in your life would probably benefit from a technology class catered especially to them. Check with a local senior citizen center, local library or even a college. Many community colleges and universities alike offer free tuition to seniors. Being around other seniors learning the same thing can help keep them motivated and help each other to learn.
Technology could be the lifeline your senior needs to keep them connected and safe while living alone or enjoying the activities they love most. Make their experience fun and empower them to use their technology to improve the quality of their life. Soon they may be teaching you how to use the latest app or smartphone