I say this with the sincerest intentions and a heart to teach and empower the elderly with this new technology…Please stop buying your parents and grand parents new devices then leaving them to figure it out on their own.
You see I get to travel to the different Assisted Living Facilities in my area and train the residents using our Online Social Media courses. The one thing that I run into 9 times out of 10 is the fact that these Seniors have the best of the best devices yet those devices sit in the box because they have no idea how to use them.
After the first day of doing the YouTube Course and witnessing a young lady (I call them young because they are young at heart) watching a YouTube video but has no idea how to turn the volume down I knew I had to share my heart with you all. Her son just bought her that new iPad and had it sent to her. No instructions. No help. No nothing.
You can watch the video below
Here are 5 simple things we can do for our parents or grandparents that will help make the learning experience more enjoyable for all of us.
- Stop buying them new devices and then leaving them to learn it on their own – I know we buy these devices out of the kindness of our hearts and so that we can keep in touch but you have to remember this is all new technology for them. Some don’t even know how to turn it on let alone how to email and get online. Spend time with them showing them how it all works, you know the basics like how to turn it on and off, how the volume control works, how to get to their home screen and so on.
- Allow them to do it – There are some times you’ll need to control the device but for the most part please hand it over to them and show them what to do. There is nothing better than hands on training and I have watched many seniors pick up a tablet for the first time and because they were able to control it, they picked it up a lot faster.
- Don’t assume they know what you’re talking about – Trust me on this one. If you have been on computers for any length of time then you know the name of basic functions and terminology. For instance, a cursor, a mouse, the keyboard, the backspace or delete button. You would be surprised how many seniors get a new iPad and don’t even know what these basic functions are. This is NO FAULT OF THEIR OWN, they are just learning all of this and we need to take the time to make sure they understand it all.
- Find out what it is they want to do with their new device then show them (by allowing them to do it remember) – I had a young gentleman who I trained on how to use his iPad and there were three specific things he wanted to do: send an email, respond to email and get online. That is what I showed him how to do. After three different people tried to show him what they wanted him to learn he finally was able to learn what HE wanted to learn. By listening to what he had to say and his frustrations we were able to get him to a point where he was enjoying his iPad and not wanting to throw it out the window.
- Have lots of PATIENCE – God has definitely gifted me with the patience to teach people but one of the things I always keep in mind is the fact that I was once a newbie also. Come to think of it, so were you. Every single person on this planet has been a newbie. Remind yourself of how frustrating it was for you to learn a new language, a new trade, a new job, a new subject in school, a new program, a new operating system, a new…you get my point. Put yourself in their shoes and if you can’t do that at least thank them for teaching you everything they could when you were younger by extending the same grace and patience unto them.
I have faith in you and know that if you can keep these 5 tips fresh in your mind when teaching your parents new technology I know it will go well for all of you.
Of course if you want your parents to be able to call on others for help when you’re not around then Sign them up for our membership here at Social Media 4 Beginners where they can take all the course and have instant access to Melissa and I inside our exclusive Facebook Group created just for our members. They’ll be able to ask all sorts of questions and we’ll help them along the way.
If you have any other suggestions or want to share a story about training your tech-savvy parent we’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
Y’all Be Blessed,