Technology is an integral part of society, and professionals across a continuum of industries will have the opportunity to bring the senior population up to speed with the ongoing technology revolution. Moreover, the retired aging population is rapidly expanding, making it vital that business leaders help this rapidly expanding group learn how to work with emerging innovations. This is important for an older generation that’s curious but may not have exposure to many technological advances.
According to the year 2000 Pew Research Center survey, only 14% of polled seniors reported using the Internet, but today 67% of the population reports using the web. While the senior population uses technology at a lower rate than the general public, the group now uses it more than any of their similarly aged predecessors, and as time moves forward, the population is adopting technology at rates similar to adults under the age of 65.
In an increasingly technological world, parents and grandparents are querying their progeny about technological issues more and more. When answering these queries, it helps to build on older learners’ existing knowledge.
The following are 6 more enlightening tips about helping seniors learn to use technology.
Tip 1: Older People Do Use Social Media and Technology
Among the ageing population, 59% use the Internet, 71% go online every day and 49% use Facebook. 81% of seniors report that they use social media to network with friends and family members daily. Overall, they comprise 92.1 million Americans and represent an enormous opportunity for enterprises. Furthermore, the ageing population can benefit greatly from innovations such as smart pillboxes, medical alert systems and health and tracking apps and medical devices that can help the ageing population to comfortably and safely age in place.
Tip 2: Teach Tech Slow, and Let Them Ask Questions
When teaching seniors about technology, it’s important to speak at a slightly slower pace to give them time to process what you’re saying. Additionally, it helps greatly to pause in between steps to help senior learners establish a clear understanding of what they’re doing. Furthermore, there’s nothing wrong with asking senior learners if you’re moving too quickly.
Tip 3: Help Seniors Practice What You’re Teaching Them, Let Them Interact
When teaching seniors, it’s important to allow them to fully engage with the technology they’re learning about. When a student is struggling to complete a task, it might be tempting to jump in and complete it for them. However, this is not an effective way for seniors to learn. They need to go through the process of executing tasks on their own. This helps them to become familiar with the feel of working with technology as well as to better remember what they’ve learned.
Tip 4: Have Patience With Older People and Complement Them
By staying positive when teaching seniors about technology, you’ll foster an environment where seniors are more comfortable and will learn better. It’s important to praise them as they successfully complete tasks and show them that they are making progress. Additionally, when seniors appear confused, validate what they’re feeling, and reinforce the fact that they will eventually gain an understanding of technology. This is important, as seniors are used to being more knowledgeable and competent than others.
Tip 5: Remember, the Elderly Want Your Help
Learning about technology for the first time can be frustrating for seniors. A calm, cool demeanour can go a long way toward making the learning journey less frustrating for inquisitive older learners.
Also, when teaching seniors about technology, remember to repeat key concepts. A large amount of new information can easily overwhelm those who are learning about technology for the first time. Repeating key concepts makes it easier for older learners to remember key points and reinforces the most important bits of information.
Tip 6: Seniors Are Great Business Technology Consumers
Seniors are more in tune to the digital world than you might think. When making business plans, it’s important that executives consider how seniors can help them reach their corporate objectives. With successful careers behind them, many seniors have newly found free time and disposable income.
More than half of senior retirees report that they’ve saved up enough to cover their essentials. Many have also saved enough to continue participating in their favorite leisure activities. They’ve planned ahead and learned how to control their spending, by making smart moves such as reducing their tax liability.
Training and access to technology enhances the lives of seniors. Seniors who want to invest in technology have a genuine innocence and enthusiasm about the undertaking, and with patience and effort – and the right helping hand– educators can help to improve the lives of the aging population by means of technology.
Social media and other innovative technologies are transforming and improving the quality of life for the elderly. Thanks to dedicated and patient volunteers as well as a multitude of senior technology learning groups, the aging population is adopting technology at an unprecedented rate. As a result, they’re becoming more connected and more empowered. In the end, technology is helping the senior population continue to lead independent lives.
Andrew Deen has been a consultant for startups in almost every industry from retail to medical devices and everything in between. He is currently writing a book about scaling up business and his experience implementing lean methodology.