Adjusting to technological changes is probably one of the largest hurdles we can face as senior citizens. The good news is that there are lots of different technology teaching tools available to seniors today. Here is a list of basic skills you should learn and ways to go about learning them:
Computer / Smartphone Skills You Should Learn
One of the first questions that may come to mind is simply: Where do I start when it comes to learning technology?
Here some basic skills and knowledge that you will find helpful for navigating technology:
- Learn how to turn your device (smart phone / tablet / laptop / desk top) on and off and set up a password.
- Get access to the web with a browser (like Chrome / Firefox / Safari) and learn how to search and navigate the web.
- You’ll likely need to connect to the web via your phone company or cable TV provider and then get a router if you want Wi-Fi (a wireless connection to the internet).
- You can use free Wi-Fi at the local public library and many merchants like coffee shops. Just ask for the Wi-Fi account name and password.
- Learn how to set up an e-mail account and then send / receive e-mails, including how to open attachments- like photos of your grandkids.
- Learn how hyper-links work when reading content online.
- Master Facetime or Skype which are video phone calling services.
- Consider accessing online banking with your financial institution.
- Explore online bill-paying services for things like utilities, newspaper subscriptions and phone bills.
Local Classes and Workshops
You can start by attending one of Gramatan Village’s beginning computer and personal technology classes for older adults that are new to technology.
SeniorNet's mission is to provide older adults education for and access to computer technologies to enhance their lives and enable them to share their knowledge and wisdom.
They are the nation's premier provider of computer education to those in need (seniors and underserved). Since 1986, we've opened-up new worlds of information to more than a million people through our Learning Centers and online communities
AARP TEK Workshops:
Available to everyone, TEK workshops are free technology learning events available online on tablets or smartphones and are offered in various cities throughout the U.S. AARPTEK.org, 202-434-3021.
Older Adults Technology Services (OATS):
Based in New York City, OATS provides free tech training to seniors in 70 locations throughout the city. OATS.org, 718-360-1707. The New York Times wrote a great story about this service when it launched a couple of years ago.
SeniorPlanet.org is a spin-off of OATS and they celebrate aging by sharing information and resources that support aging with attitude, and helps people who were born long before the digital revolution to stay engaged and active by bringing a digital-technology focus to a range of topics – among them news, health, sex and dating, art and design, senior style, travel and entertainment.
There are also a wide variety of books you can purchase that can help you learn how to use different types of technologies. Check out “Computers for Senior for Dummies” now in its 4th edition described as: The bestselling guide that helps the mature choose a computer and get online for shopping, paying bills, staying in touch with family and friends, and much more! If you've just purchased your first computer or laptop need a plain-English introduction to getting started, Computers For Seniors For Dummies has you covered. Available at sites like amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.
Online Instructional Services
If you already have a computer and some knowledge or internet skills but want to learn more, there are a number of online services that can help you out.
Some good ones to checkout include GCFLearnFree.org, which is supported by the Goodwill Community Foundation and is completely free to use. And MyPCSchool.com, which is privately owned and offers nearly 700 lessons for $39 for three months or $79 for one year.
Also check out TechBoomers.com, a free educational website that teaches seniors with basic computer skills about frequently used websites, and Geekatoo.com, which offers tech support house calls in all 50 states, and offers two-hour tutorial instruction for $79.
If you get stuck, you can start by calling Gramatan Village at 914.337.1338 and we can help set up a plan of action for you to get more tech savvy.