TECH

Teach The Elderly To Become Tech Savvy With These Simple Hacks

Help them help themselves.

26/01/2017 2:20 PM IST | Updated 26/01/2017 5:07 PM IST
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The rapid pace at which technology is changing today makes it hard for anyone but the most digitally savvy to keep up. And, it gets only tougher as one enters their senior years. It is no surprise that the elderly and the old often find themselves at sea when confronted with a smartphone or PC. But then there is technology to help handle technology. Improvements in user interface, for instance, have gone a long way in helping senior citizens get a handle of tech gadgets.

Thanks to these tech hacks, seniors you know will soon be well on their way to becoming tech masters:

1. Bigger font always works

While screen sizes are becoming larger day by day, there have also been changes in logos and fonts to fit more things into a small display. However, choosing the biggest font and logo size is generally advisable for seniors as it reduces stress on the eyes and makes the technology easier to use.

2. Touchscreen is more intuitive than a keyboard and mouse

Let's face it, the clicks and scrolls take up time. Touchscreen phones, laptops, and tablets are easier to handle, and the various app icons on the home screen make theses devices more user friendly.

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3. Uncluttered home screen is the best

Both iPhone and Android home screens are customisable. When seniors start using a device, make sure to place a minimum number of icons on the home screen, but do include icons of the most used apps such as WhatsApp, YouTube, and Call. Android now also allows pinning of contacts on to the home screen.

4. If the Internet is not a necessity opt for a simple feature phone

While touchscreen phones are great for content consumption, feature phones work best for straightforward communication. There are some very simple-to-handle phones available that let you put your favourite contacts on speed dial. Easyfone is one example of a phone tailored to meet the needs of those who are not tech savvy.

Easyphone

5. Voice assistants are not perfect but they are handy

Many of us frown when we hear of Siri and Google Assistant, but these voice controlled digital personal assistants on smartphones make handy tools for simple tasks. You can ask these assistants to call a contact (and, if a contact's name is too complicated for the assistants to register, save them as a simple name), help you navigate your way home when you are on the road, send a text message and more.

6. Introduce them to the video world

It's easier to understand something visually than having it explained in writing. Introduce the seniors to the world of YouTube and videos, where they can watch anything from movies of their choice to smartphone tutorials.

7. Teach them how to make video calls

From Skype to Facetime to WhatsApp, the elderly love to see their near and dear ones on the screen and talk to them. Take out time and teach them the basics of video calling. Now, with WhatsApp and Facetime, it is a lot easier to get connected.

8. Create a simple tech dictionary for them

Tech terms are just so much mumbo jumbo for many and there are new terms popping up every day. Even seemingly simple terms such as notification bar, cookies, URL, browsers and windows might be confusing for seniors, so its a good idea to print out diagrams or simple explainers.

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