Seniors and Technology

Dec 07

Everyone has a different learning style. But what gets me is the people that don’t seem to know how to learn about new devices whether it be a new computer, reader, tablet or smartphone. These are people who have been in careers needing smarts. Where is their curiosity? I know highly skilled people in crafts, sewing, bridge, woodworking, you name the hobby, they can do it. But when it comes to an electronic device, they feel overwhelmed and don’t seem to want to try. They want to have their hand held and be shown everything step-by-step. How do they expect to learn how to use it.

Part of my reaction above is the many requests I get to help people. I do like tutoring and helping but I do not have enough time for the personal 1:1 that is required. I steer people to video tutorials on YouTube but some folks can’t do that. I feel for the folks who get off to a good start and can do some basics but if the computer acts up and a new message comes on the screen that they haven’t seen before, they get frustrated and stop. I don’t blame them. I get frustrated too sometimes when I have to troubleshoot.

It seems to be the fear of technology that is holding some people back. I am not talking about the poor design and physical limitations people may have to use some devices. Granted the design of devices and software is not necessarily user friendly for many older people. The iPad is great but if you have a hand tremor, it is hard to use. You do need good eyes to use a smartphone, and arthritic hands make using a keyboard difficult. I am not the only one who has noticed this. AARP has weighed in with an article  on Seniors and Technology.

The children mean well passing along their older phone, computer or iPad, but they don’t spend the time with the one-to-one help that is needed. The gift that children and grandchildren can give is their time and patience with technology. Forgot about more “stuff.” Sit beside the learner and coach them through email, YouTube, how to download an App, etc. Let them do it and be very, very patient.