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How to Help a Loved One Adapt to New Tech

As we age, it becomes harder and harder to keep up with the changes that are occurring in technology. As society continues to move toward more digital storage and access, it is even more challenging to keep pace. Helping your loved ones adapt to the new digital landscape will take patience, attention, and different types of resources. Follow the tips below to help teach your loved ones to keep up with changing technology.

4 Ways to Help Your Loved One Adapt to the Digital World

  1. Stay Calm and Be Patient

    Helping someone learn about things they have never worked with before can be complicated and confusing. It will require a time investment that is longer than you may think. It is important to remain calm and hide any frustrations, as technology has advanced quickly and is full of terms they may struggle to understand. By preparing ahead, you can save some time and confusion later. People will be better able to retain the information you are providing when you can remain calm and relaxed. This will help you to hear the question correctly and to answer them in a clear manner.

  2. Choose Your Words Carefully

    woman helping grandmother with phone in a park Someone who does not use a lot of modern technology or who has learned as they go will not be comfortable with all of the language used when talking about technology. They will be unfamiliar even with words that seem simple to you, like the "mouse", "trackpad", "home screen", and "web browser". To help communicate the processes easily, use simple words that are familiar to them. If they find a word that seems to fit the thing you are talking about, using that term, such as "pointer" instead of "mouse" or "trackpad", can help build their confidence and help them remember.

    Using some of the older terms that are no longer popular may help them to understand better. If they are struggling after you have explained, you can even label some of the things with a label maker or post-it notes to make it easier for them to learn the words they need.

  3. Use Multiple Resources and Approaches

    Everyone learns differently, and seniors are no different. They learn best in methods that are familiar to them. By using a few different approaches and resources, you can ensure the most success. YouTube videos are one way to encourage them to engage with technology in a simple way. You can let them play and then go over what was covered in the video on their own computer or phone.

    If videos are not the best method or are not having the results you need, then books with images and step-by-step instructions can be helpful. They can be looked back at as needed and offer a resource for you to leave with your loved one when you go home. In addition, providing diagrams and images is an excellent way to help them learn their way around.

    When showing the movements and steps needed to use whichever device you are showing them, use the device and go slowly. It is important to repeat the entire process a few times, as repetition can reinforce the steps in the right order. Having them do the task as well is imperative. When it is done a few times in a row, muscle memory can take effect and will help them when you are unavailable.

  4. Select Easy to Use Technology

    granddaughter helping grandfather with computer happyThere are many items that can do the things that everyone needs but are intended for those who struggle with technology to use them easily. This includes cell phones with few buttons that are large and labeled with pictures for ease of use. Likewise, covering some of the buttons on a television remote or finding a universal remote that can be used on any device automatically and that has images for labels can make using the television or the streaming device simple.

    Making technology easier to use and finding easy versions of the needed devices can make it easier for them to learn and allow them to do more activities. Voice-activated devices are also popular for those who struggle with learning how to use technology. They can voice their needs, and the device will respond to them.

    Using a larger screen will make it easier for them to see, so a tablet that is larger than a cell phone will be preferred for video calls. Likewise, using a computer with a full screen can be easier to see than a small tablet screen, making it better for them to replicate later. You can also use the settings to magnify the screen and make it easier to read and use.

    Touch screens are often easier to use than devices that require a mouse, as they are intuitive, and the icons are easier to see than on another screen. This can allow them to access the function they are looking for, and they will have fewer pieces or accessories to misplace.

    Ensure that each device, including cell phones and tablets, is placed within a solid case to protect it from falls and spills. This is important for any device but more critical for those who may not understand how fragile they are or who are beginning to have issues with their joints and hands.

It is important for loved ones to know how to use technology to stay in contact with others and to remain active in the world around them. As technology is becoming more advanced, there are ways to make it easier to use and teach loved ones how to use it. This will require patience, a willingness to use different approaches to find one that works for them, using queues and hints for when you aren't there, and finding easy-to-use versions of technology that they can learn on.

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