Seniors in the digital age: Exploring new possibilities

Just because you were born B.C (before computers) does not mean that technology is not for you. While adapting to a digital world in your senior years can be intimidating, you can become computer literate and enjoy some of the benefits of this modern age.

The advent of the internet is the most critical development in society since the start of the industrial revolution. There is no aspect of life that computers and the internet have not revolutionized. Everything that you do, from sending a letter to a loved one, paying for your shopping, or submitting a tax return, happens online these days. No matter how much you long for simpler times, understanding how to operate in the digital age has become essential to being a productive member of society.

So, how do you overcome the overwhelm and make technology work for you? Here are a few tips to becoming a digitally savvy senior:

Invest in a personal computer

Owning a personal computer will help you to retain your independence as a senior. Without your own computer, you might find yourself having to rely on others to do the most basic things for you,  like paying a bill or receiving important documents. 

Once you make the decision to buy a computer, make sure to go to a reputable technology supplier in your area for advice. Most computer retail outlets will have a technical support division that, for a small fee, will install all of your software and set up your accounts. You can also return at any time if your computer is not working or you need assistance. Good after-sales support is a great investment if you are not confident with computers as it will save you a lot of frustration.

Get an internet connection

In the past, you have paid for services like your phone line or cable television, and securing an internet provider is no different. Ask your friends and neighbors about service providers in your area and go with the one that others recommend. 

When you speak to the service provider, look at all of the packages and find the one that will suit your needs. If you are unsure what to ask for, reach out to a tech-savvy friend or family member to help you secure the right internet package for your needs and budget.

Get comfortable with your computer

You might feel a little intimidated the first time you open your computer and try to find your way around. Fortunately, there are many tutorials and courses that you can take online that will help you to become familiar with the basics. Take a look at platforms such as Udemy for basic computer literacy courses and enjoy getting to know your new computer.

The most important thing to remember is that there is very little that you can do to “break” your computer (aside from throwing it out a window – which I don’t recommend). There is no button that you can hit that will render your machine unusable. If something does go wrong, an IT technician can quickly reverse it and restore your files to their original state if your device has been set up correctly. So, don’t be afraid to explore your new computer with confidence.

Explore the internet

Over the past two decades, the internet has opened up possibilities that we could not even imagine a few decades ago. There is, literally, nothing that you can’t find on the internet and once you get started, you may find yourself becoming absorbed by the sheer volume of information online. 

While this is a wonderful development, it does come with some dangers. Many unscrupulous people are on the internet trying to get your money. They do this by getting you to give them your details, such as your social security number or banking details. ,

To stay safe, never give your details to somebody that you don’t know via email. If you are buying something online, make sure that you are on a reputable site, such as Amazon, before entering your details. You also want to make sure that you have installed the latest virus protection software and that it is updated regularly. A professional IT technician at a reputable technology store can help you out with this. 

Ask for help from people that you trust

Younger people are a lot more comfortable with computers and the internet because they have never experienced a world without these modern-day conveniences. If you have a grandchild in their teens or early twenties, ask them to come over and help you to get comfortable on your computer. If they get impatient, remind them that you have many skills that they do not, like sewing your own clothes or repairing a car. Take turns to teach each other and take advantage of the opportunity for you both to learn a few new tricks. If you don’t have a young person that you can reach out to, consider hiring a tutor to assist you in the early stages of your digital education.

They say that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but we are not dogs and your ability to learn new skills remains with you for life. Once you get your head around some of the new technologies available, you might just grow to love the ways that technology can add to your life.


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