In a world where it is difficult to go five minutes without a computer or phone, it is hard for many generations to imagine how seniors live without being connected.
How does banking get done?
Where do you read the news?
How do you know what there is to do in town?
Most important, how do you stay in touch with friends?
Believe it or not, it is possible to survive without a computer or phone. However, anyone will tell you that although it is nice not to be glued to your device, it is often very inconvenient or frustrating not knowing how to use technology for everyday things.
Our company has worked closely with baby boomers and seniors to discover some of their biggest challenges in the digital world.
Below is a list of the main challenges baby boomers & seniors face with technology. For the next 5 weekly columns, we will talk about each one in detail.
Let’s take a look:
- Too many choices
When it comes to hardware, there are so many options on the market today. What is better for you: a tablet or a laptop or desktop? Touchscreen or Regular screen? Android or iPad? The choices seem endless and unless you know the pros and cons to each option, it is stressful when trying to decide what will work best for your needs.
- Scared to break it!
Because seniors didn’t grow up with technology, learning how to use a computer or smartphone has a steep learning curve. Seniors often don’t receive proper training so they are afraid that pressing a wrong button could ‘break’ the computer. When not comfortable with what you are seeing on the screen and what each button or link will do, it is only normal to feel afraid that you might do something ‘wrong’.
- Afraid someone will have access to private information
When it comes to sharing personal information on a computer, those who did not grow up with technology obviously are concerned about the security of entering their very private information online. To make matters worse, when hearing about the countless online scams, it is difficult to feel confident when submitting information that could compromise your identify if exposed to the wrong person.
- I can’t remember all my passwords
It seems like you need a password for everything these days. And since it isn’t recommended to have the same password for everything, different logins have different password requirements or they expire, it isn’t easy to just create the same password for everything. Half the battle of logging in is just remembering your username and password!
- Email Problems
Oftentimes a friend or relative sets up an email account for the baby boomer or senior. And when the person’s home network gets set up, the network provider will often help set up another email address. Seniors struggle with multiple email accounts on multiple devices. It is extremely difficult to manage if you don’t understand exactly how email works.
If you are a baby boomer or senior, we would love to hear about your biggest technology challenges. What frustrates you? What confuses you? What problem do you wish technology could solve for you? Feel free to comment or email us at [email protected]!
Check back next week for solutions to the top 5 technology challenges for baby boomers & seniors.
Stay safe out there.
May I also ad to the seniors defense….. Technology is getting stupid.
“I see you are using your laptop. My phone is just about dead can I plug it into the USB port to charge it?”
“Sorry dude, all my ports are full. I’m charging my e-cigarette and my book.”
The problem with Seniors and ______ (enter new age thingy here) is that their minds do not work as the world is now structured to operate in a quickly changing and adapting electronic eco system.
That screwdriver or hammer in their tool box works the same way today as it did when they first picked it up 40 years ago. Nothing changes, it works the same. WORD ’97 the tool bar options are there along the top, upgrade to 2010, 2013, 2016 … everything where you knew where it was has now been moved and changed. Same program but the operation in how to do the same thing has changed. ADD-REMOVE programs is now stupid PROGRAMS & FEATURES soon to be changed in the 2020 version to “life enhancements and positive progressions…”
Every app that has a significant “update” has the potential to become completely unusable to Seniors who’s brains cannot adapt to the fact that things change and can change quickly. Read, discover, experiment and adapt in real time or get left behind.
I’m a computer geek and every time my bank changes their web interface I have to adapt and read how to send bank transfers or where my on line paperless documents can be found. My lovely parents go to their pencil & paper check list of where things have been and always should be (3rd item down from the left and choose “statements”). When things change and you cannot adapt you are done.
When Insta-Face-O-Twit-O-Gram came on line, I had no idea how to explain it to them over the phone. You have to see, read, try, understand, adapt to how the interface works. Then two months from now that very same interface might completely change again. Seniors cannot handle that as that is how their brain were initially wired to work for the first 50 years of their life. That screwdriver or hammer is always the default because it was simple. The downside is that the hammer cannot see what the family is doing with picture posts from half way around the world while on vacation let alone video chat 8 time zones away in real time. This is also why my children are on their tablet and have 5 programs running at the same time (one is a game) and they can flip between them. Their brains are being wired completely different than how Grandma & Grandpas were.
The brain is wired to work very early in life, the seniors are on the losing end of this biology game because the world has moved on very quickly with or without their acceptance. Be cognoscente of that fact. Be patient with them and help them understand at their pace no matter how frustrating that can be. Keep in the back of your mind that these are also the people who taught you how to use a toilet which is something you now use every day 🙂
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