These days, the majority of our conversations take place online – using email, text, video chat, and social networks. Photos of the grandkids are shared digitally and family dinners are scheduled on Google Calendars. But the convenience of modern communication can leave boomers, seniors and older Americans isolated as they wait for the telephone to ring.
In developing Claris One, we had a goal of designing a digital platform that families could use to stay in touch, regardless of their level of computer experience. For some of our elderly loved ones, the idea of learning completely new technology can be overwhelming, especially if it exceeds their comfort level in any way. Based on discussions and case studies with our community of users, we’ve come up with a few tips to reduce frustration and help ease elderly loved ones into the digital age.
Actually, it’s not for you – it’s for us
In our experience, gifting anyone 80+ with a new “gadget” typically generates a response something along the lines of: “Oh, I don’t need that!” This truly selfless generation won’t typically engage if they believe the gift is solely for them, but by explaining that adoption makes it easier for the entire family to stay in touch with them, you’ll be much more successful in getting crucial buy-in.
One thing at a time
As you might remember from the first time you picked up your new smartphone, technology use is not easily mastered the first time around. Explain the new technology in small stages, gradually introducing new features while hiding everything else. This is the best way to assure loved ones are fully aware of all these new devices have to offer.
Once your loved ones begin to get a hang of their new gadgets, be sure to consistently share content you know will be appreciated and engaging. For example, regularly sending pictures of the grandkids is guaranteed to yield a positive response, and keep your aging family members wanting more. Keeping interest levels high will assure your older loved one will want to continue expanding their knowledge of technology.
Given the chance to adapt to new trends at their own pace and comfort level, older seniors will appreciate the new level of social connection that technology provides. At the end of the day, connecting generations is what we’re all about.