Teaching an elderly parent how to use technology

In today’s increasingly more technologically dominated society more and more people are relying on technology. In fact, your elderly parents will no doubt have been subjected to their grandchildren talking technology at them as if it was their first language.

Whether your elderly parent is tech inquisitive or they live on the their own and would benefit from some assistance from technology in the home it is a good idea to teach them how to use it properly. The Better at Home report by the Live In Care Hub (www.liveincarehub.co.uk) indicates that more and more elderly people are preferring to remain in their own homes rather than turning to an assisted living facility. This means it can be a good idea to take the time to teach them about some of the technological advances that may help them to remain in their own home longer.

Consider the familiar

When introducing new technology, it is always a good idea to build on a concept that it already familiar to your parent. For example, comparing a street address to a web address is a good way to discuss using the internet and browsing. This will help to reinforce the concept that this is already a familiar concept just approached in a different way.

Googles Alexa for example can also be introduced in a similar way. For many people it is just a voice activated radio so introduce it as such. This is a very easy piece of technology to master once you have the very basics in hand and a great place to start.

Don’t get too technical

When you explain how each piece of technology works or is operated, consider using less technical terms. Technology can be confusing at the best of times so don’t be drawn into the trap of using all the technical jargon. Just give simple instructions that your parent can follow. You may even want to write them down so that they have a step by step guide to help them if you are not there.

Take it slow

It may seem simple, but people learn at different paces and an older person may take a little longer to pick up using technology. Let them set the pace and don’t move on until they are completely happy with what you have already explained. If you think they are struggling, see what is confusing them and work on a solution. The more comfortable they feel using technology the faster you will be able to explain other things to them so get it right from the get-go. It may be handy to repeat any key concepts that you come across as this will help to reinforce them.

Build in time for questions

The best way to help someone learn a new skill is to allow them a chance to ask questions. What may seem logical to you may very well not be to your parent so allow for regular questions as you go. It is also a really good idea rather than just showing them how something works to allow them to learn from experience by actively participating.