The information in this article is from my personal experience in working with hundreds of seniors and hearing from family members who have hired me. I also gathered information in a survey recently which provided added insight. My definition of senior is 60 and over, but I have worked with people younger also. Since I work with the seniors that do have issues that's my focus in this article.
Here are a few of the main areas that are mentioned by seniors that I work with and three tips to help you help a senior.
1) It’s not intuitive. For those who are used to technology, it seems easy you just tap here and swipe across here but to seniors the whole concept of using your finger on the screen is alien.
2) It’s intimidating. Because technology is so foreign to the older generation, it is therefore intimidating to most. Often there are no instructions included with it and there are no instructions on the screen telling you what the next step is. On top of that things pop up with terminology that they have no clue what it means or it sounds threatening.
3) Hand-eye coordination. You have to be very precise where you touch the screen and even quick before the icons or text disappears. This can be difficult for seniors who may have vision issues or hand stability challenges. Text and icons are also quite small.
4) Memory. You may not realize it but there are a lot of steps to remember in doing any task such as sending an email, taking a picture and reviewing it etc. etc. It’s hard for seniors to remember all the steps and then they get frustrated because they don’t know what to do next.
There is a real technology generation gap. Seniors did not grow up using devices and many are just now deciding or having to grapple with it in their 60s, 80s or 90s. Technology is a different way of thinking and they are trying to relate to it based on their previous framework. Here are some comments from a recent Savvy Senior Training survey.
“I did not learn things taught today in my days. Although did try to keep up with today’s pace, I felt intimidated.”
“My biggest problem is that I am afraid of messing something up. I am too cautious about trying if something is not working the way I think it should”
“I Get frustrated -what is the next step to do something.”
“Lack of manuals is extremely frustrating”If you have a senior that asks you for assistance with their technology here are a three tips to help you to help them.
If you have a senior that asks you for assistance with their technology here are three tips to help you to help them.
1) Watch your tone and be encouraging. Make the senior feel reassured that they are not being dumb for asking for your help. They can easily feel like they are being a nuisance and that they are stupid because even the younger generation knows how to do “everything” on the computer or iPad”!
2) Go slow and show. A complaint I often hear is that when others show seniors how to do things on their devices they go too fast so the senior doesn’t see what they did. Move slowly and explain what you are doing. Point out where you are clicking or tapping.
3) Write it down. As mentioned before, we don’t realize how many steps are involved in doing things on our devices. If it’s something that takes a few taps or clicks then you probably need to write it down step by step so that the senior can follow and be reminded next time.
© Savvy Senior Training 2017