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In this day and age, technology equals freedom. Freedom to be kept up to date with the world around us, to connect with our friends and family, to continue to learn and to grow, etc. It’s important that we extend this freedom all the way to retirement in NZ, to our elderly parents who have not grown up with the kinds of tech that we rely on so heavily. In this article, we’ll talk about some helpful ways we can help our elderly parents to be a little more tech savvy.

Be patient and available

It can be tedious to have to teach people things again and again, especially when they are tasks that you might find mundane. However, this is the most important step to take if you want your parents to become autonomous with their tech devices. Their learning process will rely heavily on having someone available to answer their questions, especially in the beginning. They don’t have the tools yet to find out answers themselves, and so as their designated mentor, being available to answer calls and remaining patient will be integral to their journey.

Teach them how to Google things

The first step towards being tech savvy is learning how to solve any problems you may come across yourself. All of us have tech problems at least every once in a while: from dodgy internet connections to constant updates and software changes. How do we navigate these issues as they pop up? We Google it! This may seem like the simplest task in the world, but for those who have not grown up with Google like our generation has, it takes some getting used to for sure.

Teaching your parents how to Google things not only involves teaching them how to open it and navigate through the site. It also involves teaching them how to type inquiries that are going to get relevant results. Teach them to write out their question in full, and teach them about keywords so that they can successfully find what they are looking for.

Provide them with resources and tutorials

Google is great, but while you are still learning something from scratch, it can pay to look at resources that can teach you everything right from the beginning. Keep this in mind when you find resources and tools for your parents to learn from. There are sure to be plenty of sites, papers, books, videos and tutorials out there aimed at teaching people the absolute basics. Sifting through content yourself to give your parents the right kind of reading material can be hugely beneficial.

Use language they relate to

This ties in with giving your parents resources that are meant for people with zero tech experience, and you should use this advice every step of the way. If you’re teaching them something over their shoulder, keep in mind that they aren’t going to understand a lot of tech jargon that you would usually be so used to saying. Explain concepts out in full, and if you need to call something by its tech name, try to explain why it’s called that so that your parents can remember it.

For example, terms like ‘copy paste’ can seem so natural to us, but are foreign concepts to someone who isn’t familiar with a keyboard. One way to break down this concept is to explain that you have to click and hold down the mouse over the text you want copied, then select ctrl+C on the keyboard, and go to where you want the text put, then ctrl+V will place it there.

Set up accessibility settings for them

One thing that’s a good idea to set up for your parents at the very start of their tech journey, is the accessibility settings on their devices. These settings are often developed so that elderly people and those with restricted accesses can use technology efficiently. They usually include things like bigger text options, and voice commands. Setting these up for your parents can make their learning process a lot smoother, because they won’t be restricted by not being able to see or hear things they need.

Help your parents live their best lives

Technology can bring independence and freedom to anyone’s life in this day and age. At The Vines, we’re committed to providing the elderly with the means to be independent and live a fulfilling life. Teaching your parents how to be tech savvy allows them to have another level of independence, and we will support that whole heartedly.

If you’re looking for a place where your parents can be their own authentic selves and live life to the fullest, talk to The Vines at Bethlehem; we’re a retirement village in Bethlehem, Tauranga that Kiwis can trust.

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