Senior tech usage is on the rise! According to one study by The Pew Research Center, the number of seniors age 65+ using technology, like tablets or cell phones, has steadily increased over the past decade. Seniors are making great strides with technology usage.
While many older adults have the essential functions down and feel comfortable doing the most critical tasks on their devices, many still lack the confidence to try new features or tech they aren’t familiar with. Some of the barriers that cause this are:
- Lack of support and assistance
- Fear of scams or security with new tech
- Lack of familiarity due to not having grown up with these devices
- Feeling overwhelmed or intimidated by new features and information about their devices
Many seniors want to learn more but don’t know where to start. They may have questions but don’t know who to ask or how to get the assistance they need.
Loretto’s Nottingham Independent Living Community partnered with InterFaith Works, to launch a Digital Navigation program known as “Tech Tuesdays.” Through this program, volunteers from InterFaith Works provide free in-home tech support for seniors, answering different tech questions surrounding social media, cell phones, smart TVs, wireless printers, tablets, streaming services, or any other tech topic.
The program provides weekly one-on-one sessions to residents. The volunteers work through each individual’s needs and specific concerns to help improve their digital literacy.
Some of the things that the volunteers help with regularly are:
- Changing the device settings to adapt them to the individual’s needs and preferences
- Demonstrating the essential functions of their device
- Teaching seniors about cyber safety and how to be aware of scams
- Helping to identify what features are available to them, what they are, and how to use them if needed
- Explaining terms that may be confusing to a new user, such as, “The Cloud”
- Answering any questions they have about their devices
The key is to help them get the most out of their device depending on their interests, values, and priorities. This can be anything from playing online games, browsing the internet, messaging family and friends, streaming the latest movie on Netflix, or posting to social media. It’s about simplifying the technology and teaching them how to understand it at the level they are at.
These sessions allow seniors to ask someone questions who is there to answer patiently and support them in any way they can. Debra Porto, Tech Tuesdays Volunteer from InterFaith Works, shared her thoughts on the program, “Overall, it’s about creating joy and excitement and empowering residents who want to learn these new things. It is rewarding to identify these pain points and assist them to understand better.”
Want to learn more about all of the programs that The Nottingham offers? Go to https://thenottingham.org to see how you can live the good life!