Tech-savvy seniors may be not the norm, but nor are they necessarily hard to come by. For some, it depends greatly on how adventurous and technically adept they were in their younger years; while for others, it has more to do with the influences around them. For example if they have kids and/or friends encouraging them to be e-interactive, and these tech enthusiasts are willing to provide sufficient technical support, seniors will often embrace the challenge. On the flip side if they tend to isolate or have little interest in learning new things, new technology may have no appeal.
If you have a senior person in your life who has sufficient pluck and wherewithal to embrace technology, here are some tips for helping them along:
7 Tips to Help Seniors Find their Tech Groove
- Start with basic equipment and service fees that don’t stress their budget (think tablet, computer or a wristband device that tracks physical activity).
- Provide the set-up and ample hands-on guidance (think patience).
- Don’t overwhelm – start slow and stick to the basics (think Google and email). If they meet the challenge, invite more variety (think Skype, texting, group fitness challenges).
- Give them ongoing support – perhaps in the form of a weekly visit (think multiple benefits).
- Include them regularly in e-conversations so they feel linked in and valued (think share an interesting health story or a link to funny dog antics).
- Entice them with communication and pictures they can’t resist (think new baby, family genealogy, grandkids graduating).
- Praise and flatter endlessly (think show them how you posted a tribute to them on your Facebook page).
It’s important to remember that not all seniors are interested in keeping pace with the times. Some just want to be kept informed about various technical innovations, and be occasionally included in a technical activity that is initiated by someone else (e.g. Skyping with a faraway relative). As always, the trick is to try and include our aging loved ones in some aspects of our rapidly evolving world, while being sensitive to their limitations and respectful of their choices.