Technology use is growing across people of all ages. And while the obstacle to computer literacy among older adults has been the assumption that it’s best suited for the younger generation, technology use among adults is soaring. According to a report by the Pew Internet and American Project, in 2014, only 11% of older adults owned a smartphone. Today, middle-aged and older adults are embracing technology more than ever. This is evident by a study that suggests that approximately 70% of seniors are now using the internet. They use the internet to stay connected with their loved ones, stay informed, etc. Of course, there is still a percentage of seniors who are yet to embrace the technology. In this article, you’re going to learn some practical tips for seniors on how to become more tech-savvy.
But before that, let’s learn a few things.
Given how technology is deployed in all aspects of our lives across generations, there is no reason why seniors shouldn’t be more tech-savvy. Besides, technology is more than Snapchat and Amazon shopping. Tech-savvy older adults have an easier time staying connected to their loved ones. Older adults who are tech-savvy also relieve caregivers of some hustles. In case you’re wondering why older adults should be tech-savvy, here are the reasons to convince them.
With the advancement in technology, there comes improved safety. These days, family members don’t need to worry about allowing their loved ones to stay alone at home thanks to the availability of personal monitoring devices. These devices allow monitoring of the wearer from a distance and can help to detect any danger directed to older adults. Tech-savvy seniors can seek assistance with just a press of a button. If your loved one likes to walk around, have them carry a GPS-enabled device or get them a simple tracker to wear. This way, you can tell where they are at any time and in case they need help. For older adults who live at home alone, a home alert system could help to improve their safety.
The greatest benefit of modern technology is the ability to allow us to communicate and socialize with the most minimal effort and cost-effectively or even free. These days’ smartphones and tablets are programmed in a way that they can display larger buttons, icons, and brighter screens for older adults with impaired eyesight. Some high-end devices also offer the option to have texts read out loud by the device instead of straining eyes to read tiny texts manually thanks to AI and machine learning technologies. There is also an abundance of social media, texting, and video chatting apps that allow seniors to easily stay connected with friends and loved ones without having to travel. This ability to stay in touch with others helps older adults in combating feelings of isolation and depression which are common problems faced by seniors living alone.
Older adults can download games, hobby apps, high-quality movies, or stream TV services on their smartphones. There are mountains of games online that can keep older adults busy. Seniors can also find puzzles and other types of games that stimulate their minds and keep their brains active.
As we age, our brainpower starts to decline. We start to forget things easily. For seniors taking certain medications at particular times of the day, it’s easy to skip important medicines. Even caregivers can get busy and forget to give older adults some medicine. Thankfully, medical experts working around the clock have created medication apps that send alerts when it’s time to take medicine. Some apps are designed for monitoring general health so your doctor can use this information to administer the right medicine.
With modern technology, shopping for groceries or other essential items online is a breeze. Tech-savvy older adults can use their smartphones or tablets to order items online and have them delivered to their doorstep. Learning is also a breeze thanks to modern technology. If there is something new you want to learn more about, just open a browser on your mobile phone and Google it. Older adults can also join online classes and learn a few things to keep their brains engaged and active. As you can see, there are many benefits of technology for older adults.
Follow the tips below:
1. Overcome your fear
Exploring something new in life can be intimidating and dreadful. You aren’t sure whether you’ll get things right or wrong. But there is one thing you should remind yourself of: If others made it, why not you? The reality is that there are tens of thousands of older adults out there who became tech-savvy in their older ages. And the good news is that the starting point is always the difficult one. Besides, fear is what keeps us from trying something new. Look at the things you were once afraid of trying that you’re currently good at. See how you conquered fear and apply the same.
2. Be positive
Your attitude determines your altitude. You must have learned or heard of this saying. In simple terms, having a positive attitude will bring you up higher in life no matter the situation. So first, begin with an “I can do it” attitude towards learning and embracing the technology. t’s possible that your close friends have probably demoralized you before and perhaps this is keeping you from thinking you can make it. Let go of all your friends’ opinions and find out your own. Who knows, you might find it a lot more exciting than you may have thought.
3. Have a copy of your passwords
As one grows old, forgetfulness becomes a constant habit. Older adults are known to forget even the most important things like car keys, glasses, etc. This means that seniors can forget their passwords easily. For that reason, it’s recommended to have a backup plan. This includes writing down passwords in your journal (ensure no one but only you can access the journal). In case you log out of your online accounts and you forget your passwords, you can easily retrieve them from your journal.
4. It takes time
Becoming tech-savvy at an older age is no easy task. You learn a new concept today and tomorrow you’ve forgotten everything. It can be frustrating and demoralizing. But take your time. Explore new topics taking short breaks when you feel exhausted. Give your brain the right information it can absorb and don’t be too hard on yourself. Stay true to yourself and know that you cannot grasp everything in a day. After learning a new concept, spend some time practicing it continually so that it can stick in your mind.
5. Be reachable
While it is advisable to power off electronic gadgets we’re not using to save power, you can switch your computer when not in use but keep your mobile phone on so that people can reach you easily.
Join computer clubs
The internet has all sorts of organizations and clubs where older adults can learn almost everything from gardening to cooking, and technology. The good news is that some of these clubs and organizations are free to join. Head over to Google; you’ll find thousands of these clubs.
In case you have no one to ask, Google is your close confidant. As long as you’re connected to the internet, you can ask Google about anything and the search giant will provide you with exactly what you want. Go to Google and search “how to type information on Microsoft word” and see the mountains of information you’ll get.
Use how-to online videos
YouTube is a goldmine when it comes to learning a new skill. You can find almost any video tutorial from farming to manufacturing and technology. The good news is that all the tutorials on YouTube are free. Just go to YouTube and enter the keywords related to the topic you want to learn with a “how-to” at the end of the keyword. For instance, you could enter “save a Microsoft word document how-to”. You can also buy professional video tutorials from Udemy.
Subscribe to tech-savvy publications
This is one of the best ways to get constant updates and knowledge relevant to the topics you want to master for free. Explore as many websites and publications as you can that can offer you the right information then subscribe to their email list.This way, you’ll be receiving planned emails with valuable information. Follow their social media profiles to learn the information they post every day.
Practice, Practice, Practice!
Having done all the above, and even during the entire learning process, keep on practicing. They say practice makes perfect and there is no better place this mantra can be used than when you’re looking to become a tech-savvy older adult. No matter the mountains of knowledge you learn, it doesn’t make sense if you’re not using it practically. To get better at something, you have to learn and practice it.