Friday, July 26, 2019

7 Ways to Help Seniors Learn New Technology

In today’s increasingly digital world, many seniors are finding it difficult to keep up. The technology that powers our lives didn’t even exist just a few short decades ago, and for a lot of our grandparents and parents, learning about it all can be more than just a little overwhelming.
If you have ever tried to help an older person learn how to use a new piece of technology, the situation may have left both of you feeling frustrated. What may seem simple to you could be a completely foreign concept to someone else. It could seem like you are speaking an entirely different language when trying to explain tech concepts, and you might feel like the other person isn’t really trying.

Helping seniors learn new technology can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. Keep in mind that your elders possess vast quantities of intelligence. They just didn’t grow up with technology in the same way that younger generations have. It takes time and patience, but you can teach an older person how to use all sorts of high-tech devices. Here is some advice on how to help seniors learn new technology.

Build on Existing Knowledge
Even if someone doesn’t know anything about the newest iPad or how to use a laptop, seniors have a lot of existing knowledge that you can build on when teaching them how to use something new. Compare a newer concept with something that they are already familiar with. You could, for example, relate web addresses with street addresses when explaining how to navigate the internet.

Avoid Technical Jargon
Tech speech has become a part of our everyday language. For many seniors, though, words like selfie and emoji may not have much meaning. When trying to explain newer concepts, stick with words that they are likely to know and understand. There are usually multiple ways to describe something, and choosing the simplest option is usually best. If you use a word or phrase and the person you are speaking to doesn’t understand, backtrack and explain before moving on.

Be Patient
Watch your pace and avoid trying to go through too many topics in a short period of time. When you fully understand how to do something, it’s easy to fly through all of the steps. If you are trying to teach someone who doesn’t understand, though, going too fast will just leave everyone feeling frustrated. Take the time to explain things slowly and pause between steps.
Repeat important concepts, too. When you are presenting a lot of new information, taking the time to go over things more than once is important. Doing so makes it easier for seniors to remember what you are saying and helps reinforce the most important concepts.

Encourage Questions
When you are teaching, pause to ask for questions regularly. Many people are hesitant to interject to ask a question because they don’t want to appear rude. They may also be embarrassed. By stopping to ask for questions, you are creating a time when they can ask for help without feeling like they are a burden.
This also gives them a sense that it is an appropriate time to have questions, which can keep them from feeling embarrassed. It makes them feel more comfortable, and it provides an opportunity for you to assess whether you should move on to the next topic or spend some more time on the current one.

Let Them Try for Themselves
Many people learn more effectively when doing things themselves than when simply being taught. Whether you are teaching someone how to use a phone, tablet, computer, or another device, encourage them to learn by doing. Explain or demonstrate how to do something, then ask them to do it themselves. Allow them to take an active role in learning, and they are likely to pick up new skills much faster.

Validate Their Feelings
Seniors often get frustrated when trying to learn about technology from someone younger. They have grown accustomed to being more knowledgeable about many subjects than younger people simply because they have so much more life experience. There is a chance that they haven’t been a novice at something in decades and experiencing those feelings can be incredibly frustrating. Validate their feelings and let them know that it is perfectly all right for them to be confused in the beginning. Remind them that everyone has to start somewhere and that they can and will learn.

Wow Them
When you use technology every day, it’s easy to forget just how amazing it can be. By wowing seniors with just how amazing the tech world is, you can encourage them to work through the challenges and become savvy users themselves. Bring up a satellite view of their childhood home on Google Maps, or help them FaceTime with their grandkids on the other side of the country. Show them how you can print out beautiful photographs at home using their inkjet printer. By providing these little experiences, you can help get them more engaged in the learning process.

The Bottom Line
Teaching seniors how to use technology can be difficult. It’s important to remember, though, that even if they don’t know how to use a smartphone or a laptop, they have just as much knowledge and intelligence as anyone else. Be kind and patient and encourage them to practice their new skills as they learn. Be open to questions and don’t ever make them feel like a burden if it takes them a while to fully grasp a new concept. While teaching older people how to use technology can be frustrating, it is also incredibly rewarding. You may even learn a thing or two yourself along the way.

Tania LongeauTania Longeau serves as the Head of Services for InkJet Superstore. Tania oversees a team of Operations and Customer Service Reps from the Los Angeles headquarters. Before joining InkJet Superstore, Tania was a team leader and supervisor working for one of the biggest mortgage and real estate companies in the country. She is a happily married mother of one who enjoys spending time with her family and reading in her leisure hours.

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Thanks Tania!

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Caring for Your Aging Parents Course

I have recently published my newest course on, Caring for Your Aging Parents. The cost is $22 USD. Check it out, pick up some tips and resources to assist you in this journey. Know that you are NOT alone. Please share the link with friends and family.