How to Become Tech Savvy Seniors in 10 Days9 minute read

9 minute read

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Updated for December, 2018

For older people in a digital world, it’s easy to become overwhelmed or feel intimidated by all the new technology around us. We are surrounded by an array of digital devices everywhere we look, whether its smartphones and the social media, tablets, banking machines, laptops there’s no avoiding it.

senior man playing video games

Getting digital literacy training can give older adults the skills and confidence to access information and services online.

Technology is used in every facet of life because it can provide the speed, connectivity, and efficiency to make tasks easier. We all want things to be easier and faster and as an older adult, it’s important not to underestimate how technology can help you in your golden years.

This is the information age where questions can be answered in an instant, and when we take advantage of being informed and connected then we can gain the knowledge and know-how necessary to helping ourselves and improving our lives. Getting digital literacy training can give older adults the skills and confidence to access information and services online.

Indeed, getting some simple training in using computers, tablets, and smartphones can help seniors to stay connected with their families, friends, and communities. This is especially important for seniors who wish to live independently and age at home.

If you want to learn the basics or just brush up on your digital know-how we can give you pointers on how to become a tech-savvy senior in no time.

The definition of a computer is an electronic device that manipulates information or data and has the ability to store, retrieve, and process data. A computer comes in three basic forms, but we include smartphones as a fourth type of computer because of its personal computing capabilities

Where do you start? Good news, there are lots of places for seniors to go and get computer literate.

Now that we’ve established why computers are important in today’s world, and you understand what the main types of computer are, it’s time to get savvy with the wonderful ways you can use them.

Whether you want to learn how to use email, browse the Internet, do video calls with your grandkids, purchase gifts or other items online, or share and view photos with friends and family, it’s easier than you think.

If you have a family member (grandkids are naturals!) or friend to show you some basics, that’s great. If not, then there are several choices out there. Where do you start? Good news, there are lots of places for seniors to go and get computer literate.

Here are some of the best resources available to seniors who want to know their way around computers.

Visit your local library or bookstore. There you’ll be sure to find a variety of books to help you learn how to use different types of technologies. Some are quite simple to follow and written specifically for seniors such as the Visual Steps and For Dummies series of books. You can also order these books online at sites like Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.

If you already have access to a computer and can use the Internet then there are several online services that offer technology lessons and instructional videos while allowing you to go at your own pace.

We recommend GCFLearnFree.org, which is free of charge and supported by the Goodwill Community Foundation. Another free website that teaches seniors basic computer skills is TechBoomers.com.
If you can afford to pay for an online series, try Geekatoo.com. It costs $79 for a two-hour tutorial instruction along with technical support if you get stuck.

If you don’t mind doing a bit of browsing there are also have many YouTube video instructors that can offer quick overviews on general computer know-how and specifics such as setting up a Facebook account or doing Skype calls.

Using a computer can let you stay informed, share information, organize your schedule, do your banking, find and listen to your favorite music, watch old episodes of your favorite shows and films, the list goes on.Indeed, with all the resources and help available you may find yourself becoming a technical expert sooner than you think.

You will probably be able to find a local workshop or class for seniors right in your own community. Indeed, there is a great demand for such types of courses. Whether it’s a beginner’s class for computer basics or a specific series on how to become proficient using certain software or applications, it’s a great way to get out and learn with peers.

AARP TEK Workshops

TEK workshops are free of charge to the public. They offer technology learning events on tablets or smartphones across various cities throughout the U.S. Their contact number is 202-434-3021 and website AARPTEK.org.

Lifelong Learning Institutes (LLIs)

LLIs offer many courses to retirees and some may include technology courses. To find an LLI that offers computer/technology classes, contact your closest adult college. You can also search the websites of Osherand Elderhostel. They are two organizations that support approximately 500 LLI programs nationwide.

SeniorNet

This organization offers a variety of basic online computer courses geared at seniors. They also offer instructor-led workshops at 36 learning centers throughout the United States. There is a membership fee of $43 for the first year. Visit SeniorNet.org or contact them at 239-275-2202 for more information.

Oasis Connections

Offering free computer and digital technology classes at local senior centers, church halls, public libraries or employment centers, across 30 U.S. cities. You can visit them on OasisNet.org/connections or contact them at 314-862-2933 ext. 272.

Older Adults Technology Services (OATS)

For New York City resident seniors, OATS organizes free technology courses to seniors in 70 locations across the city. They can be reached at 718-360-1707 or online at www.OATS.org.

It may sound fancy and unrealistic to some seniors, but it is not that hard to become tech savvy. Just try and keep an open mind and let go of any preconceived notions that technology is complicated and not ‘your thing’.

It’s true that most of your lives were lived without the modern gadgets of today, and you did just fine thank you very much, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use technology. Give it a chance and let technology show you what it can do for you.

It’s nice to know that you can stay connected to loved ones and friends (no matter if you or they are in the grocery store, traveling abroad on vacation, or even in the yard gardening).

Sources:

www.udemy.com/tech-savvy/
www.nbcc.nsw.edu.au/courses/Funded+Training+/Tech+Savvy+Seniors
www.assistivetechnologyblog.com/2017/04/4-ways-entertain-senior.html
www.wsj.com/articles/want-to-get-tech-savvy-dont-ask-your-children-1502294980
www.marketwatch.com/story/guess-who-else-is-reading-your-posts-on-social-media-2017-05-17