Technology has become an ingrained part of our everyday lives, for people of all ages. It’s easy, in theory, to jump in and take advantage of the many benefits that it offers. However, it can be quite intimidating for some people to get started, no matter one’s age!
After all, there’s a learning curve for any new skill. Whether you're an activity director at a recreation center, looking for ways to help your aging relatives, or even just trying to encourage employees to use technology, these tips will show you how to teach technology responsibly and without fear to anyone who is tech-shy, or worried about some of the scarier side of the Internet, like online scams on seniors.
As technology is such a major part of everyday life, it is increasingly difficult to function without it. Learning the basics of technology helps seniors stay connected, in more ways than one.
Starting with the most pressing matters, technology makes it easy and convenient to get medical advice from home using telecare. More and more of geriatric medicine is going digital: almost half of older adults (two in five) check symptoms online before consulting a doctor. This access to information is helping seniors take a more active role in their own health, and to have more productive discussions with their medical providers.
Staying up to date on news and current events is another reason for seniors to be tech-savvy. In our current climate of constantly shifting COVID-19 guidelines, it’s more essential than ever to stay informed. Online news outlets stay up-to-the-minute on important updates that directly affect our daily lives.
Another reason for learning to use technology--and the one that is most-cited in polls for seniors—is staying connected to loved ones. 87% of seniors get tech-savvy to stay in touch with family and friends.
With family members living in different parts of the country—and even the world—having the ability to stay in touch, and in some cases, attend significant events like weddings and birthdays, is vital.
With nearly every aspect of life having an online presence, there are countless ways to make technology work for your specific needs and interests. The sheer number of options can be overwhelming at first! Here are a few starting points:
One of the biggest benefits of technology for seniors is being able to support your health through telewellness and telecare. You can now contact your doctors, order medicine, get care, and even have an entire physician’s visit online. So for days when you can’t get transportation, or just need some quick medical advice, this is a perfect time to take advantage of what technology can offer.
With online yoga, all you need to get started with your fitness routine is a mat and a computer—no fancy equipment required. The simplicity of this meditative, yet challenging, form of exercise makes it easy to jump in and get started. And it has an array of health benefits, including increased strength, flexibility, and peace of mind and flexibility.
Begin your virtual yoga journey below to support your wellness with live streaming!
Technology has helped countless new friendships bloom between seniors! Particularly during the pandemic, social isolation is a difficult issue to combat. Virtual book clubs, for example, help older adults bond over a shared love of the written word, and can foster passionate conversations and debate.
Joining online social platforms can also connect people with like minded interests at all ages.
At Televeda, our goal is to keep the connections growing between all our members. No matter the content of our events, the priority is making social connections and friendships in a virtual community that can last for years!
Connecting with relatives, particularly the younger set, is always a great motivator for getting tech-savvy. And some of your seniors’ favorite games have most likely already ‘gone virtual’ in some shape or form.
Check out online bingo (always a classic), play a round of Scattergories, or virtual trivia to show off their knowledge to grandkids. Check out Televeda’s in-depth guide to hosting a trivia game of your own.
From paying bills online to online shopping to ordering groceries, and more, there are almost endless ways technology can make our lives easier at any age.
Technology is not always easy to understand, especially at first! Many people have a fear of the unknown, and this can be especially true for older generations. With that in mind, it is important that as an activity director you are mindful of how to teach technology to senior citizens.
From using one-on-one instruction sessions with your participants, to providing them with materials like step-by-step guides or handouts on how to use different devices and applications, there's no shortage of opportunities for you to make tech more accessible.
Knowledge: you have to know tech to teach it! Make sure you’re up to speed yourself on the latest versions of the app or device that you’re teaching. YouTube tutorials like Five Minute Social Media are fantastic (and free!) resources for brushing up.
You might even want to teach some of these classes virtually to your adults!
Want help? Reach out to Televeda today for your free demo!
Highlight the ways that technology can connect to a particular senior’s life. What do the enjoy doing, and what are their needs?
Show them how to look up the bus schedule, manage finances, get active, or stay connected to their grandkids. This will make technology more tangible—and less intimidating.
Try a variety of teaching approaches: books, videos, how-to articles, infographics, and more. We all learn differently, and older adults are no exception.
Provide learning materials, like step-by-step guides to using particular devices. DOROT has an extensive list of free guides for all basic technology needs, from email to text messaging.
Keep in mind that even though some people may have trouble hearing. Offer alternatives, like screen-sharing instructions in large text so that they don’t fall behind and feel lost.
Take your time and break down the steps necessary to perform each task. This will allow them to feel successful as they go through each step.
Make sure they know about their "escape routes" when things don't go exactly as planned or if something goes wrong with their device (i.e., a power outage, or just sending an email too early...we've all been there)! Mistakes happen, and it's important to share that that's okay, and there are always solutions to any technical problems and frustrations.
Have a good attitude, and remember that a new skill can be intimidating. Be patient, optimistic, and encouraging, and let them know that it's okay that technology can be frustrating: it can be frustrating for anyone at any age!
As we've seen, it can be challenging to teach seniors how to use technology. However, the benefits of teaching them and keeping them connected with their communities are too important to ignore.
Televeda is here for you! Our team members are passionate about helping others learn about new technologies like smartphones and tablets. Plus, they understand what can be difficult about learning something new at any age or stage in life.
We're confident that our services will help your loved one keep up with modern society while staying comfortable doing so!