The internet is truly a phenomenon defining the modern age. This technology is a mainstay in the workplace and younger generations cannot remember a time it did not exist. As technology advances we often forget to bridge this advancement with older generations. Technology for Seniors can seem very intimidating.
We forget that popular internet use is only several decades old, meaning even middle-aged individuals didn't have access to the internet as it is today.
How To Make Technology for Seniors More Engaging and Less Intimidating
The internet is not necessarily the sole territory of younger people, and not the only technology that is required in today's fast-paced world. Using simple hand-held devices such as iPhones or Fitbits can also pose a challenge for some. Sometimes this challenge lay in the actual inability for person to master a technology, while at other times, it is simply an issue of disinterest. It may be difficult for them to feel engaged with technology and what it represents.
1. Sweat the Small Stuff
When at all possible, pick out the easier avenues of data manipulation. For example, using touch screens as opposed to tiny buttons that may strain older eyes. Try to buy ergonomic keyboards that are easier on arthritic hands. Always make sure that basic features such as volume control and light settings are understood. Settings that a younger generation may take for granted are often the sources of greatest contention for older generations. There is also the matter of explaining technical language that people may feel inhibited by. Explaining the very vocabulary that is used everyday in the average workplace is definitely a part of making technology a little less intimidating for use. Explain words such as "upload", "browser", and "cookies" for example.
2. Focus on the Bare Necessities
While young people may tout technological skills proudly, seniors are not so inclined towards technological excellence. While it may be tempting to try to engage them into using technological tools such as social media or apps for various tasks, however this may only complicate mastery of basic tasks. It is best to develop at a consistent pace. Recognise that for ages 40 and under, basic technological tasks such as downloading materials and organising a desktop are natural, and many of these simple tasks are a part of daily routines world-wide. However, do not expect a person to feel the need to master a wide variety of tasks at the outset. Focus on what's needed day-to-day. Whether it's figuring out how to erase messages or just answering a smart phone, these are real tasks that make a difference in the effective management of a daily routine.
3. Make Technology Part of a Past Time
Once they feel comfortable with basic tasks it may be time to move on into the world of Facebook mentions and twitter hashtags. Mobility is an issue that many seniors have, and focusing on technology as a way to eliminate this obstacle may be a good start recurring use. This type of focus can take different forms. Older people disconnected from their loved ones due to distance can use technology to categorise photographs or other memorabilia that may have piled up over the years. Technology can be the solution to keeping in touch with family and friends.