How to assist senior citizens using the world of internet easier
If your parent resides in a retirement community or a senior’s housing they most likely have among many other activities also a computer room, or in some cases a wifi connection where they can use their own computer in their bed rooms. We all aware of the endless coll things we can do today over the internet with any device: skyping for free, sharing photos, watching our favorite movies and shows, listen to music and more and more. Some seniors are actually pretty good at doing most of those however many of our parents or grandparents still having difficulties doing any basic use of the computer and they need our help.
So, How can you help?
Depends where exactly the senior resides. In some A class communities they have computer classes and in some cases a personal guidance. They use a computer room with a high speed internet and can use them in certain times and not necessarily 24/7. If that’s the case they are in a better position since they at least the hardware and software needed and can begin immediately learning some basics such as Google Searches.
In other cases the computer classroom is small and there is no any guide or a class to show them how to use the equipment available. Moreover in many cases the computer are old, slow and haven’t been updated in years. Still in other cases there is no room designed for studying or working on a computer but they can have wireless connection and use their own laptop or tablet and enjoy the web. If the latter is your parents’ case they probably don’t use computer at all and if they do, they get very frustrated and can not really understand how to even begin enjoying benefits of basic technology.
In any scenario we all need to spend just a little time as often as possible, for only a few weeks and teach them (over and over again) how to do stuff that might seem obvious to us such as restarting their device. Remember all the stuff that you have learned since you first sat in front of a computer: opening and closing windows, opening a folder, download files, using the mouse in the first place… Break down every peace of information you acquired and teach it to them slowly one by one.
Here are some tips we want to share with you for where to start in guiding older people:
- Find out by asking some questions what is level of knowledge the “student” posses. If you notice that they are extremely slow and even sometimes kindda “scared” from the computer then you start with giving them confidence and work on the psychological part to help them understand that computer applications are constantly improving to give an easy, friendly and intuitive experience. When you think about you realize that over the years technology got better and more complicated but software and websites are friendlier and easier. So actually learning how to use computer now days is easier and faster then ever before.
- If you are trying to teach an older person that already can do some basic stuff such as sending emails or facebook, then they might facing now an issue with searching and finding new content, websites and information because of the process of using search engines and sort through many unwanted search results. What they might find useful is a webs directory. Webs directories are a collection of links to different websites usually sorted by subjects and allow to simply click a link to access a website. Some directories are better then others. Some provide accurate updated links and some are old and obsolete but most of them are too overwhelming for seniors since they present endless auto-generated text links and create a bad visual conception. the best option for this type of user is a VISUAL Directory since the webpages are being presented in a “cleaner” , more gentile way. These kind of Visual Directories such as Kafe or Touchlogo are great source for accessing websites easily for the novice user.They are presented a logos and this way the connection between the landing page and the click is intuitive.
- The next issue we want to pay attention to is how to deal with things that block the flow or smoothness of the daily use of the computer or laptop. Teach the new user to avoid clicking on ANY type of popup windows, close them and ignore most of the messaged they receive generally. Make sure they use updated antivirus (about $40) and firewall turned on. These few basic settings are extremely important and will prevent 95% of interruptions.
Above all remember to have patience. To show them how to do every task slowly and let them repeat and experience by themselves. Have them write down on paper the steps they took in order to accomplish each task.