How to Become a Computer-Savvy Senior
I often talk about ways you can be more engaged with technology because every day I see folks struggling with things that could be so much easier if they were aided by technology. Things that would make their lives easier and help gain back some time each day that could be used for something else.
One of the most difficult obstacles for seniors to overcome in computing is the assumption that technology is best suited for the younger population – that is so far from the truth! So much so that I want to share five reasons to become more dependent upon technology and give you 10 tips that will help you become more technology-savvy.
Five Reasons to Embrace Technology
- Mental Stimulation. Scientists have found that folks between 65 and 75 years of age are able to expand their attention, improve their memory, and increase their sequencing abilities by engaging in technology.
- Independence and Fulfillment. Simply stated, it’s often a lot easier to do most things if aided by technology. Living (often alone) as part of the aging generation, has some inherent difficulties, some of which can be automated or at least aided by technology.
- Social Connectivity. Connecting with your friends and loved ones via email or social media is so easy, thanks to technology. All you need is a phone or a computer that has a camera, an Internet connection and you are good to go. When we interact with others, we feel happier and less alone.
- Get Things Delivered to You. Mobility is an issue for some seniors who are disabled or are impaired in other ways. With a computer and an internet connection, buying your groceries and shopping for all your needs is only a click away.
- Software that Improves Your Life. Many software apps can be helpful to seniors for tracking their diet, counting the number of calories you burn while walking, and even reminding you to do activities, such as taking medicine or walking the dog.
10 Tips to Help You Become Technology-Savvy
- Conquer Your Fear of Technology. Fear holds us back from many things, especially new things that can be intimidating and scary. You haven’t come this far in your life by being timid, but by being brave. Look back at all those things that you were once afraid of and now enjoy. Technology will also be fun – if you embrace it.
- Have a Positive and Open Attitude. It’s so true that your attitude determines your altitude, so try to have an open attitude towards learning about computers and the Internet. You may find you really like the experience a lot, and even find it exciting.
- Reach Out for Help. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help when you make the choice to learn about technology. This might be a good excuse to call a nephew, niece, or grandkid you haven’t talked to recently. Younger folks like helping us older folks with technology…it makes them feel smarter! Or if you run into immediate issues, you can always reach out to our FLS Team.
- Internet Search. If you happen to be where there is no one to assist you, not to worry – the search engine in your browser is your friend. Once you are connected to the Internet, you can use it to find out anything you need to know. Whatever you search on, you’ll be presented with countless detailed results to choose from.
- Take Control of Your Passwords. Over 85% of us write down our account login credentials in a little notebook, or on a napkin – then we pay the price when someone gains access to these passwords. Get a good password manager and use it! Click for one of the best password managers available, and it’s totally free!
- Take Your Time. As you explore new things in technology, take breaks when you feel exhausted, and don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t grasp something right away. Be patient. After learning a new technology skill, take time to practice it repeatedly so that you really understand it.
- Learn When to Charge Your Batteries. Nearly all technology devices have lithium-ion batteries that aren’t susceptible to damage. But it’s still best to always charge these batteries when they reach about 20-30% capacity. Keeping your device plugged in all day can reduce it’s battery life.
- Stay Connected (Don’t Always Turn off Your Devices). Many years ago, it was protocol to aways turn off a computer when it wasn’t in use for a long period of time, like overnight. Today’s devices are engineered to leave on all the time…in fact, this is better in many regards. With computers, you won’t miss necessary updates and with smartphones, your family and friends can always reach you if your phone is turned on.
- Search History. If you share your computer or tablet with someone, say a spouse or your grandchildren, who want to play games on it, make sure to keep your activities private. The best way to do this is to always delete your search history when you are done. If you’re not sharing your device with anyone, you can forego this.
- Reviews are Important – but Be Careful. Qualified reviews by folks who actually bought and use a product are essential when buying anything online. But be careful that you’re reading a genuine review, not a review that is really nothing more than advertising for an inferior product. All too often, reviews are written by individuals or sites who make money if you click on the product and purchase it after reading the review on their site (this is called affiliate marketing). These bogus reviews are usually found at the very top of the search engine results and marked as “Ad” or “Sponsored”.
Whether booking a hotel room, renting a car, buying a new smartphone or computer – you’ll find online reviews for everything. But be careful that you’re reading user reviews, and not collusive reviews posted by folks paid to rate something highly, or sites that make revenue through affiliate marketing deals.
Larry McJunkin, President
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REMINDER: April 11th is National Drug Take Back Day! Our friends at the Tellico Community Foundation are sponsoring this event in Tellico Village and at Kahite. Read more here about how to safely dispose of unused prescription drugs.