Usage of technology and internet-connected services among older adults is at an all-time high, but many people run into situations where they need tech support. GoGoQuincy.com shares 5 simple tips that can save time and prevent unnecessary headaches when using popular tech devices.
You know that terrible feeling that you get when something on your computer, Amazon Echo, or a service like Netflix doesn’t work and you don’t know how to fix it?
Some people that really identify with that frustration include seniors and family caregivers.
Usage of technology and internet-connected services among older generations is at an all-time high, but many older users need additional assistance.
At the same time, while many family caregivers use technology themselves, it’s unfair to assume that among their many caregiving skills, they can also be tech-savvy troubleshooters.
The hassle of figuring out devices that won’t connect, dealing with odd error alerts, or setting up an Amazon Echo Alexa device can be an unwelcome addition to your ever-growing To Do list.
The GoGoQuincy.com team has learned many lessons from our time providing families and people aged 55+ with on-demand tech support.
Below, we share five easy, proactive tips that can save time and prevent unnecessary headaches – plus one bonus tip that we learned the hard way.
1. Get familiar with often-used tech terminology
If a new device or technology-based service is purchased, spend a little time understanding the names for the key parts and top features and also introduce them to your older adult.
A little time spent now makes things easier in the long run.
And even if your older adult doesn’t remember everything you tell them about their new device or service right now, with repetition over time, they’ll retain more and more of the information.
Your older adult will be much more effective at describing the issues that will inevitably come up if they understand the most common terminology.
For example, you might explain some basics like what an application (or ‘app’) is and what it does, how to tap and swipe on the screen, how to get back to the home screen, the differences between tapping something once or twice, etc.
We often take this basic knowledge for granted, but older adults might not be familiar with it and these little things can trip them up.
Introducing these concepts early on can help head off some requests for help.
2. Use the correct protective case
Just because a device fits into a case doesn’t mean it’s the correct case for that device.
Many protective cases appear to be a ‘lucky fit,’ but if the proper button cut-outs aren’t positioned correctly, the case can press down on buttons or block access along the bezel.
This can cause a variety of problems from preventing the device from turning on, not being able to fully plug in the charging cable, or unintentionally adjusting audio settings.
To avoid these issues, always purchase cases designed for the specific make and model of the device.
3. Keep track of usernames and passwords
To keep online accounts secure, it’s important to have a unique password for each account. And many accounts will have different usernames as well.
It’s impossible to remember which accounts go with which usernames and passwords, so keeping an up-to-date list is essential.
Even a plain sheet of paper will work for keeping track of this important info. Just make sure to keep all usernames in one accessible (and secure) location.
4. Set up texting for login authentication
In case you can’t find or don’t remember a username or password, companies typically offer help logging in. But clicking ‘Forgot Password’ typically leads to additional security measures.
Many companies will send a text message with a special code that needs to be entered on the website to confirm the person’s identity.
That’s why it’s essential that your older adult’s mobile device is set up to receive text messages for their accounts. If they can’t receive these texts, logging in to their accounts becomes even more challenging.
5. Get the newest device that fits your budget
When choosing a device for your older adult, it’s best to avoid refurbished models (even if they’re “like new”).
Aim to buy the most recent model that fits your budget. It doesn’t need to be the fanciest option with all the bells and whistles.
This is because devices quickly become outdated and can often be incompatible with newer, accessibility-enabled software.
Buying an older device usually means being forced to upgrade sooner than if you had bought a newer device.
Bonus tip: check the cables
“Is it plugged in?”
That’s often the first question someone providing tech help will ask, but it’s not because they think you’re incompetent.
As Quincy professionals, we can say with authority “it’s not you, it’s the device.”
Cables and their devices aren’t designed to tell us whether they’re fully plugged in or not.
And with many devices, even the slightest movement can jar a charger or other cable just loose enough to cause problems.
Save yourself and your older adult a lot of time and headaches by checking to make sure ALL the cables that are meant to be plugged in are inserted as far as they can absolutely go.
Recommended for you:
- 8 Sources of Low Cost Internet for Seniors
- 5 Worst Tech Gifts for Seniors (and What to Give Instead)
- 3 Ways Technology Helps Seniors with Dementia
Guest contributor: Built as a grandchild on demand, GoGoQuincy.com is a tech support hotline for adults 55 and better. We’re designed to help older adults and their caregivers with computers, digital services, and tech devices.
This article wasn’t sponsored and doesn’t contain affiliate links. For more information, see How We Make Money.