Technology has been vital during the pandemic to keep us connected either with family or work. More seniors are getting online than ever before, but teaching our aging parents and grandparents how to use things like Zoom and social media can be daunting.
Ming Yang is a Senior Learning Expert and Founder of Orchard Info, an IT service focused on seniors, and has these six tips to help everyone navigate the online world together:
- Tell them to explore and go make mistakes - For many older adults that didn’t grow up with technology, trying to figure out how to use new technology can look like trying to defuse a bomb. Explicitly tell them, “go play with the buttons, and it’s okay to make mistakes.”
- Explain what happens if they make a mistake - If they pressed the wrong button or selected the wrong option, they can change it anytime in Settings. Diffuse their fear by breaking down their scary assumptions.
- Explain what exactly things they can do once they’ve learned it - Let’s say you are trying to convince your parents to use password management software instead of writing 78 passwords on 3 pieces of paper. Simply say "If you use an app to store your passwords, you won’t have to write them down anymore and they will be super safe and organized."
- Tell them not to give up when they get stuck -Most of the questions that our parents save to ask us until we get home can be solved with a little more persistence. Give them that persistent mindset even without you being home.
- Be zen when you are helping them- Pretend that you’re helping your boss’s mom. It may take several tries for them to get it right, but your patience is key.
- Outsource the family IT help so they don’t feel like a bother to you - Know your limits and use personalized learning services like Orchard Info to help guide your parents.