Tips to help seniors embrace technology.

During isolation many older people have been forced to adapt quickly to an online way of life. Trading cafe catch ups for Facetime, ordering groceries with a click and keeping entertained with all that Netflix has to offer uses technology which is commonplace to young people but may seem completely foreign and confusing to older relatives. So how can we help our senior relatives gain confidence to use all the helpful tech at their fingertips?


It may be obvious but try to be patient and avoid making any assumptions about their knowledge. Many seniors feel unwilling to learn as they can sense your frustration, even when teaching the ‘basics’. Be understanding, and ease into new concepts slowly.

Peak their interests

The best way to learn is with something you are passionate about. What sort of activities does this person enjoy? Technology can help people enjoy their hobbies in a new way, with the safety and comfort of being at home. Are they social and want to be connected to family members? They may have no interest in social media, but ensure they know how to use it if they are curious.

Do they enjoy photography? Show them how to scan and upload old photos to their computer. Also, how they can sort their photos in folders on their computer.
News and politics - help them download a newspaper app or find podcasts that would appeal.
For classic music fans - make sure they know how to check updates on the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra page, and watch any livestreams happening:
Film fanatics - introduce them to TVNZ On Demand and ThreeNow or help set up a subscription to a streaming service like Netflix or Neon.

Encourage tech that makes life easier

Help your loved one become independent by introducing them to tech that can help them be safer or more efficient. Think of the everyday needs, and walkthrough the process together:

  • - Online grocery orders
  • - Making a doctor’s appointment online
  • - Rideshare options like Uber

They may already be comfortable with these, so how can you help enhance their experience? Can you show them how to set up a regular delivery from their favourite butcher, or an ongoing prescription refill from the chemist.

Involve them in your tech usage

The variety of devices and their endless functions can seem daunting. So, start by involving your loved one in your daily activities, this can build some interest and even without knowing will teach tips and tricks. Ask them to send a text for you, give them a turn at playing angry birds – even if it is only to share a laugh. Soon enough, they will be video chatting you with a Facebook filter and you’ll wonder how they learnt that!

Helpful sites for computer basics

When you can’t be there in person to help, make sure they know there are sites available to do so. Or for questions they may think are silly, assure them, someone will have asked and answered it!

Over Sixty
The technology article section has information on scams, social media and computer basics, right down to how to take a screenshot on your device and copy and pasting folders.
Keep aware of online scams that your senior may be vulnerable to. 
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