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8 Ways to Help Your Grandparents Utilize Modern Technology

8 Ways to Help Your Grandparents Utilize Modern Technology

Internet and smartphones offer a great connectivity tool that can benefit the elderly, but many of them are uncomfortable utilizing these resources. Fortunately, you can help build a bridge between modern technology and their personal interests by showing them how to use these tools to improve their lives. Although some older individuals may initially be resistant, it is important to note that learning to embrace technology can have a big impact on their level of socialization, knowledge, and even their physical and mental health. That being said, you can use these eight tips to help your grandparents utilize modern technology.

1. Show Them How to Get Medical Assistance.

The medical world and technology have a great marriage, but all of the perks associated with online patient portals and tracking apps are lost to those who do not know how to use them. Sadly, a recent study indicated that most senior citizens are not using digital health resources. To help your loved one overcome this technological deficit, it is best to explain to them what the practical benefits are of contacting their physician online and turning to smartphone apps to manage their medical conditions.

For example, if they have high blood pressure they can use a wireless smartphone connection with a blood pressure cuff in order to track their daily results and report them to their doctor. Not only will this save a lot of time and money on office visits, but it could also end up saving their life.

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2. Meet Them at Their Interest Level

Everyone learns best when their personal interests are engaged. Therefore, if you truly want to get your grandparents to learn about modern technology, it is wise to show them how it ties into their favorite activities. Bingo games that you can play online are definitely a good way to get many older people into technology. After all, if they want to play bingo or learn about other games from the comfort of their home, they will no longer need to invite several people over. Much in the same way that Pokemon Go is getting formerly reclusive gamers to leave their homes and walk for several hours a day, online games can be a useful bridge between the elderly and technology.

3. Keep Everything Simple

Computers can be overwhelming for those without a lot of technological exposure. The good news is that many companies have begun focusing on providing computers and tablets that are geared toward seniors. Touchscreen tablets are a good example because they are larger than smartphones, yet they don’t require as much navigational know-how as a standard laptop or desktop.

By giving your older loved one a tablet or computer that was created with the elderly in mind, it will be easier for them to get used to everything without getting frustrated and overwhelmed. Each positive learning experience will make them feel more comfortable about exploring modern technology.

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4. Help Them Enroll in Local Classes.

Many communities offer free or low-cost computer classes for the elderly, which will enable your grandparents to learn with their peers. This added level of socialization is always a good thing, and the classes should be taught at a pace that the majority of older adults can keep up with. This will also remove the stress that they may feel when a younger family member attempts to teach them. After all, they may end up feeling discouraged if they are unable to learn the new information quickly enough to keep up with you. This factor should be removed in a senior computer class.

5. Engage Their Sense of Nostalgia.

One of the biggest things that attract the elderly to the internet is having the opportunity to see old photos and reconnect with lost family members and friends. Therefore, introducing them to their high school class Facebook group or a website of historical images from their hometown may be the perfect way to break through their technophobia. After they see how useful the computer and internet can be, they are likely to become interested in expanding their technical knowledge even further.

6. Show Them the Human Elements.

It is common for older individuals to decry technological advancements such as texting as impersonal. To get past this misconception, you will need to help your loved one focus on the human elements of modern technology. For instance, allow them to experience the joys of sending an email to a close friend or relative without waiting several weeks to get a reply via the mail service. This instant level of connection has inspired 81 percent of adults 75 or older to begin using email.

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Another great way to get them in touch with the human element is by teaching them about online video chatting or the iPhone’s FaceTime option. Enabling them to see the person they are speaking to will enhance the positive mental health benefits of socialization, and it is also likely to help them more quickly become interested in using this type of technology.

7. Teach Them about the Dangers of Online Scams

Although you won’t want to intimidate them into not using the internet or their new smartphone, it is still imperative to have a discussion with your grandparents or elderly parents about the risk of cybercrime. Older adults are more likely than other age groups to become the victim of identity theft or an online scam. Therefore, when you teach them how to get online, don’t neglect to give them some tips that can help protect them as they get used to modern technology. Keep in mind that if they do fall prey to a cybercriminal, your odds of getting them to go back online are going to dwindle. Also, most seniors are on a fixed income, so it is absolutely vital to protect their financial interests.

8. Show Them How to Volunteer Online

Is your elderly loved one a big proponent of giving back to the world? Perhaps they used to physically volunteer somewhere on a regular basis but are no longer able to comfortably do so. If that’s the case, they may love being given the opportunity to help others by going online. Everything from donating rice to those in need by playing a trivia game to teaching young students how to speak English via the Speaking Exchange can be accomplished online. This can give philanthropic seniors a great reason to learn about technology, and it will also help them stay constructive during their spare time.

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Ultimately, the best way to get anyone interested in new technology is by helping them see how it can positively impact their life. Therefore, whether they are a lifelong learner who will be enticed by free online courses or are a music lover who would get a lot of joy from Pandora and Spotify, you can show members of the older generation everything there is to love about embracing technology by meeting them halfway.

Featured photo credit: Beyond Access via flic.kr

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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