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4 Effective Tips to Provide Computer Help for Seniors in Dire Need

Picture this: your elderly loved one sits comfortably in front of their new laptop to do grocery shopping for a reunion with their friends.

They confidently navigate the supermarket’s website and add items to the cart: soft drinks, tea bags, party hats, the ingredients to make tapas, and two low-sugar cakes.

With ease, they go through the payment process and use their credit card to finish the purchase. They select the perfect delivery time to receive everything they ordered, just as intended.

Being able to perform digital activities like grocery shopping, online payment, or government procedures can significantly improve your senior’s quality of life since many things are done much easier and faster online nowadays.

For example, asking for senior financial aid can be done online in just a few minutes. While if you do it completely in person, you would need to go with your senior mom or dad to a government office just to find out what documents you need.

Black senior man using a laptop to complete a government procedure while getting assistance on his cell phone

Helping your loved one get comfortable with technology might seem like a daunting task, but your senior relative is quite capable of getting the hang of it if you help them get the confidence to move forward at their own pace.

With the following tips, we’re certain that you’ll be able to help your senior loved one learn how to use a computer or a cell phone faster than expected.

1 – Show Them the Benefits of Using Computers

In a 2021 survey, 61% of seniors age 65 years and older and a whopping 83% of older people age 50 to 64 own a smartphone. With a high adoption rate of smartphone use among older adults, it will tremendously benefit your loved one if they know to use the devices they own.

As obvious as they might seem to most people, the benefits of using digital technologies are not always clear to older people. In consequence, they might perceive it as something not worth the effort.

Another thing to consider is that what’s more beneficial about technology for us might not be the same as what they can find valuable.

For example, we might give a lot of importance to the speed computers give us because we lead fast-paced lives with lots of responsibilities, but for them, life can be slower and they can be perfectly okay with it.

So, what can our elderly loved one consider more valuable about digital technologies?

  • Benefits for their health: Technology can help your senior parents better manage their health by facilitating them to access medical information, make virtual appointments with doctors, and track their nutrition goals.

  • Occupation opportunities: Your loved one can find many new things to do that are easily learned online. They can even find a remote job that keeps them engaged and gives them extra income.

  • New ways to socialize: Social media is full of communities where seniors can connect over common interests. Also, video-call apps allow them to communicate with their relatives and friends without having to travel. Seniors can stay connected with family and friends by signing up for social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

senior woman waving at their loving relatives on a video call without the need for tech support for seniors

These are only some of the benefits you can talk about with your loved one. There are others—like finding a significant other of their age—which you can also explain and demonstrate to your senior relative.

Moreover, seniors who need computer help can find a wealth of resources available to them today.

Community centers and organizations often offer free programs, classes, and training sessions to help seniors learn important computer skills, such as how to use email, browse the internet, and search for content.

In addition, many businesses offer tech help and support for seniors who need assistance with software or other computer-related issues.

2 – Simplify Technology for Them

Information technologies represent a big leap for anybody who wasn’t born in the digital era because it requires a change in the way of thinking, attitudes, and ways of solving problems.

It also involves learning a lot of new concepts. Terms like browser, touchscreen, Wi-Fi, website, and many more, can be complicated to grasp.

So, the way to facilitate this for your loved one is to make things as simple as possible. There are a couple of ways in which you can do this:

  • Anything you want to teach them, break it down to its smallest parts and explain them one by one.

  • Try to use the least possible jargon, and explain every term each time you mention it until it’s clear your loved one has understood it.

  • Make analogies between the tech stuff you’re teaching your senior loved one and things they’re familiar with. For example: “This website is like a magazine you open to learn about healthy cooking.”

black woman patiently explaining how to use a computer to her caucasian senior loved one

3 – Use Adequate Tools for Seniors

Another way of making things easier for your loved one is to use digital tools tailored to their needs.

Your senior may have health conditions that make it difficult to see or hear clearly or move their hands and fingers precisely. Using devices that take this into account can make the experience of adopting technology smoother and more enjoyable.

Help them choose phones, tablets, or computers with a big screen, text, and buttons. Headphones or good speakers can also help them hear their device’s sounds more clearly.

You can also look for specific devices designed for impaired vision or hearing, as well as those with great voice-command features so they can manipulate their device as much as they can with their voice.

Some phone companies also offer web accessibility resources to help seniors navigate websites more easily on any type of device. With so many resources and programs available, seniors can stay informed and connected in today’s digital world.

Elderly woman using a cell phone and smiling | in-home computer help for seniors

4 – Make Learning Enjoyable and Effective

Learning any new skill takes practice and repetition, and technology is no exception.

As we said in the beginning, you must provide your loved one with an environment to learn at their own pace without feeling frustrated or discouraged. For that, patience is key.

It will likely take your senior loved one a couple of tries to learn even simple things, but you’ll see that if you give them the confidence to keep trying, they’ll get there.

Apart from being patient and understanding, these are other things that you can do to create an effective and enjoyable experience for your elderly loved one:

  • Start with the very basics: Even if it seems that a topic or an instruction is too obvious not to need a further explanation, we recommend you don’t skip it. Not only can it be less confusing for your loved one, but it can be a stepping stone that can make things easier later.

  • Use positive reinforcement: Try to praise your loved one every time they learn anything new, no matter how small. This will boost their confidence and motivation and make the learning process more enjoyable.

  • Take breaks as needed: Learning new technology skills can be mentally and physically tiring for your senior, so it’s important to take breaks as needed and to respect their physical and emotional limitations.

  • Listen actively: Listening attentively to understand your loved one’s questions and concerns will help them build trust in the end result. Also, it will let you grasp better how your senior is thinking and how to teach them in a way they learn better.

  • Encourage them to practice regularly: As we all know, practice makes perfect. We suggest you leave your senior some tasks to practice during the day and come at night to go over them together.

  • Provide ongoing support: Even when your loved one has managed to perform the tasks you’re teaching them, they might still need to reinforce those later. Don’t lose any chance to help them whenever they ask you.

Asian senior father using a computer while his son gives him tech support

Amy’s Eden Caregivers Can Help Your Senior Take Advantage of Technology

Digital technology can significantly improve the quality of life of your senior. It can give them ways to keep track of their health, socialize and learn new skills, to name a few. Looking ahead, many online resources will continue to offer seniors the tools they need to stay engaged and active well into 2023 and beyond.

Senior looking at information from her health tracker in her cell phone with the help of a doctor

If you want to help your loved one learn how to use digital technologies in their golden years, it’s a great idea to showcase these and other benefits so they can see it’s all worth the effort.

Additionally, simplifying technology, using adequate tools for your senior, being extra patient, and making learning enjoyable and effective can be helpful strategies.

Teaching technology to your elderly loved one can be a significant time investment, and we know you’d do anything to help them lead a better life.

At Amy’s Eden, we feel the same way. We want to help your senior loved one leverage anything that can make their life healthier and more enjoyable, including technology.

That’s why Amy and her daughter designed a premium caregiving service with unparalleled care and attention in some of the best neighborhoods in Reno and Carson City, NV.

We will love to spend time with your loved one, help them learn how to use computers, and take care of their needs so you can have time for your other responsibilities.

Asian female caregiver giving in-home computer help to a senior woman

Please, reach out to us. We’d love to talk with you about our in-home care services and assisted homes. We’re confident we can help you take care of your loved one in a way that accommodates your needs.

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