There are all kinds of ways technology can help and improve our lives and our parents—from smartphones and tablets with apps that help us keep in touch with family and book a ride, to personal emergency response systems and GPS devices. Even here at Freedom Home Care, one of the leading home care organizations offering senior services throughout Chicago, we use Advanced Home Care Technology to assist caregivers and ensure that the most proactive approach is being taken to care for clients in a timely manner.
But while these different forms of technology provide great benefits, they can also cause much frustration, especially to individuals in senior care near Chicago who have not been using this kind of technology their whole lives.
However, it doesn’t have to stay this way. Many times, parents can get frustrated with technology because of a lack of knowledge and fear of failing, not because they don’t want to use it. According to Pew Research Center, 58 percent of seniors feel technology has a mostly positive effect on society and just 4 percent feel that impact is mostly negative.
This all can be easily remedied. Just remember to be patient with the new learner and use the tips below to help them better enjoy technology that can improve their lives.
- Shop Simple
Instead of buying technology with complex interfaces, opt for something simple that won’t feel daunting to a new user. While smartphones can be very complex, many companies are designing easy-to-use tablets and phones to make life simpler for seniors.
- Create Detailed Tutorials
The University of Alberta found that older adults feel less confident in technology and are concerned with memory issues impacting their performance, so make it easy on both of you and create tutorials to help with common tasks.
Each time a parent asks you how to perform a task—whether it is signing-in to an application, finding a photo or forwarding an email—make a descriptive set of instructions for them. Look it at the point of view of someone who has never performed the task before and creates a video tutorial or a set of typed instructions with screenshots to show exactly where something is or what it looks like.
Assume your parent is not familiar with computer jargon. When they ask how to access their photos on their laptop, do not just tell them to open the Finder and click “pictures.”
- Be Patient
Though technology can make everything happen faster, the learning process for older adults will be much slower, and that’s perfectly normal! Instead of thinking of the time spent teaching (and re-teaching) a parent as time wasted, think of it as an opportunity to spend time together. It’s okay to laugh about the problems, as long as you’re laughing together.
- Talk About Password Privacy
Whether your parent is living with you, in Chicago senior home care or receiving personalized elder care, it’s vital to explain the importance of privacy. Give them a run down of the worst passwords to use—“123456” and “password”—and an overview of good password practices, such as using numbers in place of letters (“3” for “e” and “1” for “i”).
- Find Fun & Encourage Independence
As with almost anything, the most important driving force is motivation. Reduce both their frustration and yours by finding technology your parents are excited about. Show them some of the amazing services out there, such as online grocery shopping, meal delivery, online games, ride sharing, video chats and even personal assistant technology, like Amazon’s Alexa and or Google’s Home, which can do everything from setting reminders to reading books, getting weather and news updates, changing the temperature and adjusting the volume on the TV. Share in their enthusiasm, encourage questions and give positive answers that reassure them in their abilities, because at the end of the day, that’s what they need—confidence and support.