Boomers and seniors have responded to the challenges of the world of technology and use digital devices. For example, 50% of people over 50 have active social media accounts. Fifty six percent text daily, and the majority have smart phones.

However, 73% of people 65 and older report they need help with their new digital devices (

It is becoming imperative that everyone be able to navigate the digital world. More places accept payment from PayPal and Venmo. Companies urge us to go paperless and receive statements and make payments online. Most importantly, aging in place can be supported with technology. Services delivered online and with apps help folks stay independent. You can talk to your doctor online, get groceries delivered, use your wearable to track your exercise goals and alert emergency services, fine-tune your hearing aid, and use smart home apps for a variety of purposes.

Most of us have a friend or family member within that 73% of folks who need help with their digital devices. Often, they are reluctant to ask because they do not want to be a bother. Or because help they have received in the past has been a frustrating experience. Gifting someone an hour of your time to help them with a digital issue is a gift of love. Often, a simple solution will make that person’s life more enjoyable.

If you are going to offer to give assistance, these strategies make help more effective: practice your patience skills, demonstrate the process and then have the person practice.

Let’s think about the need for incredible patience. Remember, people over 65 (maybe younger) grew up in a world far different than someone born in the 1980s. First, much of the digital vocabulary is a foreign vocabulary. Words like bot, browser, search engine, algorithm, digital footprint and so on were not part of school vocabulary lessons. What is intuitive to a person under 60 is not to someone older. Explanations will probably be necessary and might need repeating.


What a person over 60 knows is different than what a person under 45 knows; it’s not a difference of intelligence but of experience. When helping your grandparents with their smart phone or tablet, keep in mind that if you are privileged to live to 75 or 80, the world then will be far different than it is now, and you’ll be the one who needs someone with patience to explain a new process to you. A gift of time is also a gift of patience; a willingness to go slowly and repeat when necessary.

The second strategy to use when helping folks learn a new technology skills is all about the process. First, think about the way you are conveying the information. Reframe it from correcting a deficit in knowledge to an adventure in learning new skills. Have fun during the time together; maybe even learn something new together.

Demonstrate the skill or the problem-solving strategy you are using. Keep it slow and steady while checking that they understand each step. Next, have them practice the process as you watch. Give them hints when necessary, but resist the temptation to take over and complete the task yourself.

Follow up is critical. Zoom is a wonderful tool for follow-up coaching because you can screen share to do a further demo or to watch the process they are using.

Demo-practice-coach. Three words to remember when you are giving the gift of time.

Finally, one last idea. Gift them a course that shows them how to use their device. If they love photography, check out iPhone Photography School. BoomerTECH Adventures courses are available to anyone throughout Maine and the world and can be found at Maine Adult Education (

Consider helping your favorite boomers and seniors who want to become better digital users and adventurers with a gift of your time this holiday season. Also, think about ways to entice the reluctant digital user to pursue healthy aging by becoming bolder in using their devices. A gift of time is a gift of love.

BoomerTECH Adventures ( helps boomers and older adults navigate the digital world with confidence and competence. Active boomers themselves, they use their backgrounds as teachers to support individuals and groups with online courses, articles, videos and presentations to organizations upon request.

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