Written By: Dr. Cristy Gamez-Galka
Â When you think about starting anything new, a couple things may cross your mind. There is the excitement of trying something that interests you. There is also the fear involved in doing something novel. Combine this with the possibility that your child or grandchild suggested the new activity you are trying and it can get a little more complicated. As the loved one of a senior, you want them to have things that make them happy and help them preserve their abilities and activities. Cell phones, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers can be used for this exact purpose. Here are a few things to consider when introducing or expanding the use of technology for the seniors in your life.
- What need has the senior expressed to you?
First, identify something the senior in your life would like to do. Do they miss their friends and family? Do they want to communicate more often with people? Do they want to expand what they do? Do they want to read, listen to music, or play games? Changes in living arrangements, physical changes, and cognitive changes are opportunities to look into how technology can be used to help the senior in your life adjust and remain engaged in activities they enjoy.
- What support is needed to assist the senior in adapting to the technology?
So you made a decision and bought a device, now what? The senior in your life may need someone to set up the device, help them learn how to use it, and remind them of what they learned. Decide who can do these tasks and figure out ways to aid learning. Do not think you have to do this all by yourself. You need support too. BridgingApps has a wealth of videos and handouts just for this purpose. Bookmark BridgingApps in your Internet browser and show your loved one how to search. Print out the directions for both of these steps from BridgingApps and leave it with your loved to help them remember when you aren’t around.
- How to deal with the frustration of learning.
Remember, it is going to happen, frustration that is. It is a natural part of learning. The trick is to continue learning even when frustrated. Ways to encourage learning when frustration arises: tell the person you understand because you have felt like that too, offer to help or find them someone who can help, and take a break from the activity for awhile (15 minutes – a few days).
Click on the link for more resources to assist a senior in getting started:Â http://staging.bridgingapps.org/seniors/