How to support seniors learning technology

Over the last 18 months we have run a number of training and education events for seniors. Through these events and our work with great organisations focussed on digital inclusion we've observed 4 key things to support technology use within the older community.

Reason

There needs to be an incentive or reason for the person to come back to the device. The most common reasons often mentioned for using technology are: staying in touch with family and friends, banking and research.

By asking a simple question, “What do you enjoy doing?”, you can help to help find a reason. There is truly an app for pretty much every possible interest. Whether it is watching TV, playing bridge, taking photos, learning, listening to music, reading or the many thousands of other possible interests.

Confidence

During our Tea and Technology sessions, we ask attendees to show if they feel a lack of technology confidence. Overwhelmingly, hands are raised. Helping individuals to feel confident that they won't break something is an important part of the learning process. If you think back to the first time you drove a car or cooked a meal, you will likely recall the total lack of confidence you felt when doing something new.

Local libraries and organisations such as: Australian Seniors Computer Clubs Association (ASCCA), Leep, Tech Savvy SeniorsU3A and Computer Pals for Seniors offer a range of structured training and support to help build confidence. 

Support

Knowing that there is a family member or friend that can help will make a world of difference. This support ideally should be available in person and at the beginning of the learning experience while a person is building their confidence. 

Patience

Ultimately, it takes time for anyone to learn something new and patience is essential for all involved. For the individual learning it is particularly important to be patient and fair on themselves. Meanwhile, for the person teaching technology, being patient and understanding with the individual learning creates a calm learning experience. A rewarding learning environment is created by building a respectful relationship between all involved.

We believe passionately in the benefits technology can bring to seniors and that it is important for the younger generation to support our older community members. 

Please do tell us about your experience. Contact Richard Scenna on 0408 742 743 or email richard@yourlink.com.au to find out more about our Tea and Technology for Seniors events or sign up to our newsletter.

 

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