4 biggest barriers to being tech-savvy

by Adrienne Smith | 17 Dec 2019

Originally Published on Probus South Pacific.

by Adrienne Smith | 17 Dec 2019
Originally Published on Probus South Pacific.

These are the hardships seniors face when it comes to mastering new technology – and how to overcome them.

It can become an ageist cliché to say that retirees are not good with computers or various other technological devices. Just because we are older does not mean we cannot open an app or set up a Google home assistant.

Technology can be a useful tool for an easier retirement, or a safer one, but the changes in the digital world are also very fast, and constant.

As such, there are a number of legitimate barriers to becoming a tech-savvy senior, so we take a look at what they are:

1. The pace of change

Trying to keep abreast of the latest technology can be a full-time job, and when we are daunted we are more likely to switch off. Many seniors find the constant updates and reminders from their tech overwhelming and it can lead to a feeling that we cannot keep up with the digital world.

The solution: The first step is realising you will never be totally on top of changes in computing, apps and technology. Find the technology that works for you, like a mobile phone or tablet, and concentrate on the basics like keeping the operating system current and the apps you use up to date. Don’t download too many things and keep your digital life simple.

2. Physical ailments

As we age our eyesight and our manual dexterity can become impaired and this can help us feel that digital devices, with the swishes and swipes, are something best left to the young. You might have arthritis, for example, which can make typing or using a mouse an effort.

The solution: Let the tech do the work for you. If typing is your problem you might be able to use voice-recognition software. If you are having trouble reading your emails you can increase the font and the brightness on your screen. Tech companies are constantly coming up with ways to make their products accessible to a wider range of people, so don’t quit just because you have trouble accessing your device.

3. The cost of technology

The newest technology can come with a hefty price tag, but that does not mean all good tech is expensive tech.

The solution: Shop around, consider second-hand devices, and overall, spend some time searching for the most affordable options for your tech needs. There are many websites, such as Facebook Marketplace or Gumtree, where you can find second-hand devices in great nick and at a fraction of the price.

4. Difficulty with troubleshooting

Technology can be amazing when it works right, but if something goes wrong it can be tempting to just close the laptop forever and walk away. Calling helplines can be a frustrating experience whether you are trying to update some software or connect to the internet, as telephone operators assume a certain level of tech knowledge and wait times can be very long. 

The solution: If you’re facing a tech problem, the chances are you’re not the first to face that problem, so remember: Google is your friend. Type the problem into Google search and the odds are you’ll find online troubleshooting discussions, many of which will tell you how to solve it.
Alternatively, services like GeekMobile and Geeks2U will come to your home and are more patient with the casual tech user as they are schooled to help those who can’t fix things over the phone. They are not as expensive as you would think, either.

With a little help we can all get online, get up to date, and get the benefits of a connected life in retirement.

4 biggest barriers to being tech-savvy
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