You may see seniors struggle a lot with understanding and using technology. They often feel like they are being left behind in today’s digital world. Some may find staying updated with the newest devices, social media trends, and communication methods challenging.
But why do seniors struggle so much with technology? Let’s take a look at some of the top reasons:
- They didn’t grow up with it
- They don’t see the need for it
- They don’t see things as we see
- Concern of privacy
- Lack of patience
- They’re afraid of making mistakes
- They don’t want to look foolish
- They don’t have the same physical ability
- Their cognitive abilities have declined
- They don’t know where to start
- They grow up with face-to-face communication
- Many technologies are not designed for them
I will come up with all explanations and see how you can help your seniors to understand and use technology; let’s see!
They didn’t grow up with it.
Today’s seniors didn’t grow up with the same technology we have today. They didn’t have cell phones, computers, or even the internet when they were younger. They are less likely to be familiar with new technology terms, use new devices, or even troubleshoot them when something goes wrong. As a result, they may find it harder to understand and use these technologies.
It’s the same thing as when we see kids today’s didn’t know how to use a rotary phone. It’s not that they are bad at technology; they didn’t grow up with it, so they are less familiar with it.
They don’t see the need for it.
Many seniors don’t see the need for newer technology, especially if they are comfortable with things. They may not know why they need to upgrade to a newer phone or get a computer when they already have everything they need.
This can be especially true if they are set in their ways and don’t want to learn something new. Why fix something that isn’t broken, right?
But this day, after COVID, I see many technologies are forcing them to use it, like online shopping, online food delivery, and many more. So, in this case, they need to use it, but still, they don’t know how to use it.
If you have seniors in your home, you can help them by showing them how these technologies can make their lives easier.
They don’t see things as we see
When we think about a virus on a computer, we see a small image; they see something like this – “oh my god, it’s a monster coming to eat my computer!”
This is how they see it. So, when we talk about malware or a virus, seniors start to panic and think the virus will invade and destroy their computers.
This is just one example; many seniors see technology differently than we do. They may not understand how it works or what it can do for them. This can make it hard for them to use these devices.
Concern of privacy
There are a lot of seniors who are concerned about their privacy, especially when it comes to the internet. They may have heard stories about people being scammed or their personal information being stolen online.
As a result, they may be hesitant to use the internet or input their information into websites. This can make it difficult for them to do online banking, shopping, or even keep up with family and friends.
If you have seniors in your life, you can help them by assuring them that their information is safe. You can also show them how to use privacy settings on social media and other websites. This will help them feel more comfortable using these technologies.
Lack of patience
Many seniors lack the patience to learn how to use new technology. They may get frustrated easily and give up quickly.
This can be especially true if they feel like they are being left behind or that everyone else knows how to use these devices better than they do. They will start to learn in a rush and want to do everything as quickly as possible, and in the end, they get frustrated because they can’t do it.
If you are helping a senior learn how to use technology, it’s essential to be patient. Go at their pace and let them take breaks when they need it. Remember that it takes time to learn something new.
They’re afraid of making mistakes.
Mistakes are a part of life, but seniors may be more hesitant to make them regarding technology. They may be worried about breaking their devices or not understanding how to use them correctly.
This can be a significant obstacle when trying to use new technology. After all, if they are afraid of making mistakes, they may never try at all.
We need to understand this reason and help them by showing that it’s okay to make mistakes. We can also help them by walking them through new technology step-by-step, so they feel more comfortable using it.
They don’t want to look foolish.
This is closely related to the previous point but worth mentioning. When people become older, they are often more concerned about what others think of them. Many seniors don’t want to look foolish in front of others when using new technology.
It can be a significant barrier to entry, especially if they don’t have anyone to help them get started. But you can be that someone! My dad is willing to learn, but with his ego, he doesn’t want to look foolish in front of others.
They don’t have the same physical ability.
As we age, our physical abilities change. This can make using new technology more difficult, especially if they require us to use our hands in new ways.
For example, using a touchscreen can be challenging for seniors with arthritis or other conditions that affect their hands. Similarly, vision problems may have difficulty reading text on a screen.
We need to be aware of this point and try to find solutions for them. For example, we can find devices with larger buttons or voice-activated controls if they have difficulties using their hands. If they have vision problems, we can help them adjust the font size or find apps that read text aloud.
Today, many laptops, tablets, and smartphones have accessibility features to help seniors with these problems. Check the accessibility menu and find the best fit for them.
Their cognitive abilities have declined.
Same as physical abilities, our cognitive abilities also change as we age. This includes memory, processing speed, and the ability to learn new things.
This can make it more difficult for seniors to understand and use new technology. They may have trouble remembering how to do something or need more time to process information.
We should be patient when teaching them and use more straightforward language. We can also help them by breaking down tasks into smaller steps or demonstrating how to do something instead of just telling them.
They don’t know where to start.
This is a common problem with anything new, not just technology. It can be overwhelming when we don’t know where to start, and we may give up before we even get started.
The same thing happens with seniors and technology. They may not know where to start or what to do first.
But you can help them by finding specific tasks they want to accomplish and then walk them through each step. For example, show them how to set up an account and send a message if they’re going to learn how to use email.
Start with one thing at a time and then move on to the next task when they’re ready. Soon, they’ll be using technology like a pro!
They are afraid of change.
Change can be scary for anyone, but it can be incredibly challenging for seniors. They may be used to the way things have always been and don’t want to try something new.
It’s not just new technology they’re afraid of; it can be anything from routine changes to trying fresh food. Change is a part of life, but it doesn’t mean it’s easy for everyone.
The best way to deal with this is by taking things slowly and being there for them every step. Show them that you’re not going to force them to do anything they’re not comfortable with and that you’re there to support them.
They grow up with face-to-face communication.
For seniors, technology is often something that young people use. They may not have grown up with technology as we did, so it’s a new experience.
This can be incredibly challenging if they’re used to communicating face-to-face. They may not be comfortable communicating through a screen or may not know how to use the different features.
Technology can be an excellent way for seniors to stay connected with loved ones, even if they’re far away. But we need to help them understand how to use it and be there for them when they need assistance.
Many technologies are not designed for them.
While you may think seniors are the ones who struggle with technology, it’s often the other way around. Technology is usually not designed for seniors, which can be a big problem. I loved the quotes from Stan Hayward in Quora. “It is not that the elderly can’t adapt to machines, it is that machines can’t adapt to us.”
For example, many devices are challenging to use for people with arthritis or vision problems. The buttons may be too small, or the text may be too small to read. Sometimes it can be solved by using a different type of device or changing the settings, but not always.
This is something that needs to be addressed by the tech industry. They should be designing products that are accessible for everyone, regardless of age or ability.
In the meantime, we can help seniors by finding devices and apps designed for them. Many companies create products specifically for seniors, so plenty of options exist.
Please encourage them to keep trying.
Even if seniors struggle with new technology, we should encourage them to keep trying. With our support, they can easily overcome obstacles and use new technology.
Having a positive attitude and being patient when helping them is essential. We should also praise their efforts so they feel motivated to continue learning. Remember, even small achievements can make a big difference for them. We should never give up on them.
You may see many reasons seniors find it difficult to use new technology, but that doesn’t mean they can’t do it. It’s better not to judge their ability to use new technology. Instead, we should encourage them to keep trying and offer our support. They may surprise you with how quickly they adapt!
When you’re ready to help your elderly loved ones with their technology needs, start by finding out what tasks they want to accomplish. Then, walk them through each step of the process. Be patient, and remember to praise their efforts. With your support, they’ll be using new technology like a pro in no time!