Seniors learn new tech skills when that tech has value to them

Like many Americans, including most of a certain age, the first thing I do in the morning is reach for my glasses and put them on. Without them I certainly could not do most of what I do every day. They are so helpful that I can’t imagine life without them.

Yet long ago eyeglasses were a new technology. By now have proven their worth to generations of wearers.

Similarly, many seniors today find much technology very useful in their lives: they communicate using smartphones and tablets, they buy cars with reminder tones to take the keys or check before changing lanes, and they have figured out how to watch their favorite TV shows by navigating through countless streaming or satellite options.

So if you’re wondering why your spouse refuses to try Facetime or Skype for family visits, or why your parent insists on sending a check through the mail rather than setting up online banking, take a breath. Could it be that he or she just hasn’t found a good reason to do so?

A few recent articles discuss how determining factors to encourage seniors to embrace technology is often a matter of making sure that the benefits and ease of use are clear. Perhaps in a few cases, the reluctance may be fear of the unknown – or scammers – but many other factors may be in play as well.

For example, the ability to exchange photos of grandchildren is often a driver for a grandparent to choose a smartphone with a good camera or sign up for a social media account to check the latest videos of Junior’s last soccer game or piano recital.

And their reluctance to pull out that smartphone to browse the Internet while in the car or a restaurant? To many seniors, they see younger people doing that in a gathering and find it rude to ignore others in their presence. Are they right?

One new technology frontier for seniors has become health care, and the benefits of that are many, especially in rural areas. So it may be worth our while as family members or caregivers to encourage and support their seniors as they learn new tech ways to keep themselves healthy.

For a fresh look at encouraging seniors to use technology well, check out the articles below. And I’ll let you know when I trade in my glasses for some high-tech eye surgery!

Designing better tech for seniors means simplifying tech for everyone

Why Older People Really Eschew Technology

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