Four Skills Older Adults Can Learn That Help with Computer Literacy

December 3, 2022

AARP reports that fifty-one percent of adults over fifty purchased a tech product within the past year. More than half of people over the age of fifty own a tablet, and sixty-seven percent of older adults use the internet. Some individuals report feelings of discomfort when tackling the technology that currently exists. Classes have formed nationwide at libraries, senior centers, and senior living homes, such as Beacon Crest Senior Living, to help older adults navigate the tech world. We have compiled a short list to help begin your tech journey.

Many older adults miss the days of letter writing, card giving, and sending postcards. The good news is that you can still send mail to your friends, but you can also send an email to contact them sooner. The three most popular choices for email accounts are Gmail, Yahoo, and Outlook. Accounts are free and often include storage for photos and videos. Some adults have found sending and receiving emails daily with their friends creates a form of conversation. It is one way to stay connected and keep communication accessible.
PEW Research Center reports approximately seventy-five percent of older adults use their social media regularly. Facebook is the most popular social media platform for this age group. Seventy percent of users of the older generation state they use it daily. The first thing to understand is that it is called Facebook, not The Facebook. Once you find your friends on Facebook, you will want to learn the difference between contacting them in a private message versus posting on your personal page. Are you feeling overwhelmed with social media options? Start with one platform, such as Facebook, and then expand to Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest. Once you understand the basics, you can have fun with your friends and keep updated on the extended family members.  
AARP reports that the most popular streaming services among older adults are Amazon Prime Video and Netflix. Those that stream daily make up eighteen percent of users, while twenty-six percent stream weekly. Other online options for eBooks, movies, and audiobooks include apps such as Hoopla and Libby. You can connect these apps to your library account and check out audiobooks, movies, and books for free. You will no longer need to find transportation to the library to check out or return books. Libby allows you to easily download to your phone, computer, or tablet and utilize the service immediately. Do you want to stream music? Apps, such as Spotify, offer free accounts with commercials or a monthly subscription for under ten dollars. You can listen to any music you like at any hour of the day. These are a few examples of how technology can enhance your life.
Zoom is a program used to hold online meetings. To use Zoom efficiently, confirm your computer, tablet, or phone has a working microphone and speakers. You will not need to purchase extra equipment as they already exist on your phone, computer, or tablet. The first step is to download Zoom onto your device. We recommend viewing a tutorial to make the application easier to use. You can create a meeting for yourself and your friends, or you may receive a link from a family member or friend to join them. Whichever way the links are shared, using Zoom creates an opportunity to meet face-to-face through your computer screen with friends and family all over the world. Senior homes often have a staff member who can help navigate the basics. Whether you use social media, zoom, email, or streaming services, the more willing you are to try new things, the more potential you will create for communication and connection.
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Amber Sorgato