Helping older people get used to technology

Computers, tablets, smartphones and the internet can enhance the lives of seniors by making them feel connected with the world, and self-sufficient. But it can be daunting if they aren’t used to using these devices. Here are some tips to keep in mind if you’re introducing your older loved ones to the wonderful world of technology.

Start small, go slow

A good place to start is to demonstrate the value of new technology. That might be having a video chat with a relative across the world, or showing them how to check the weather very easily each morning. A real-life example of how it could help their daily lives can be a great starting point.

Then begin with something very simple. Pick one single activity and don’t move on until they’re confident doing that on their own.

Write guides and repeat

People who are nervous using technology often respond really well to a written step-by-step guide that they can follow each time. Make sure you show them how to do whatever your first activity is several times, over more than one session. Showing them once, then hoping they’ll be able to do it alone next time, is a recipe for disappointment. So run through the activity each time you go around, following the written guide each time, and they’ll be doing it alone in no time.

Prepare the device

Whether it’s a tablet or laptop, do everything you can to make it easy to use. That might mean putting large stickers on important buttons like Volume or Power. Almost all devices have settings to make them easier to use for those who are hard of hearing or struggle to read small details. Head into the settings of the device and enlarge the fonts, increase the volume, and take any other suggestions to make the device easier to use.

It’s also really helpful if you clear up the main screen (the desktop on a computer, or home screen on a tablet), so that only the most useful programs or options appear. That way, to get going they just need to click on a single program, and they should be ready to go. Remove everything that isn’t essential from the home screen.

Be patient

It’s not reasonable to expect someone who’s never used this sort of technology to get it straight away. But the potential benefits are huge, and can help people who live alone feel connected to the world around them, giving people a whole new lease on life. But it takes time. Build up slowly, help them on their journey, and make sure you check in regularly to help solve problems that might come up.

Once they’ve got their toes wet, you can take a look at local senior computing classes for some more encouragement. And if your loved ones need some help at home, it might be time to consider getting some help. Get in touch to talk about our in-home care services, from occasional companionship visits to daily physical care, throughout Camden.