While older adults have adopted technology into their everyday lives, 77% need assistance when it comes to learning how to use it. Because the elderly are most vulnerable during the Coronavirus outbreak, you’ll have to teach them to use tech remotely—and that can be easier said than done! To help, here are a few tips to educate (and inspire) older adults to use technology that connects them to the church when they can’t attend.
1. Communicate through channels they already use
Begin communicating through channels older adults are familiar with such as a phone call or email. Unfortunately, since older generations are also more at risk for contracting coronavirus, it’s likely you will also have to educate them from a distance. This can add an extra barrier for trying to teach them new technology.
Start by connecting with them on the phone or even email if they are already familiar with using it. If email is an easy option, use it to send clear and simplified instructions that they can refer back to after your conversation and include screenshot images with easy-to-identify steps labeled. Check out these online resources that will help you and your members get set up.
2. Avoid tech talk
Use easy language to share the steps to set up online giving or listen to sermons. If you’re familiar with tech, you may not realize how much jargon your throwing around. This can quickly make it confusing for individuals who aren’t so tech-savvy, and that can apply to a wide range of ages!
Take some time to understand what they already use and prepare how you might best explain the process to someone who isn’t as familiar with some of the more specific technological terms. Identify these terms and think ahead about how to generalize or simplify these explanations.
3. Be patient
Take it one step at a time so that you don’t overwhelm them with too much information. Resist setting expectations on how long it might take to get someone set up. Even the tech-savvy folks run into problems now and then, and we all know how frustrating it can be when that happens. Just because a process might take the average person 10 minutes, doesn’t mean you should expect to get it done in that time.
Give yourself enough time to help others so that you can be patient. You don’t want to rush in helping guide them through the process. If you’re rushing to get them situated, important details can be overlooked, and they may say they feel comfortable with the technology or understand it when maybe they aren’t quite ready to move on.
4. Have them write down the steps
Being able to refer to their own notes and handwriting if they get lost can be very helpful. Before guiding them to use technology, think about what might be useful for them to take notes on. This way, you’ll be better prepared to prompt them to jot down key information that will help them access the technology when you’re not there to help. Again, try to avoid tech talk, so they can easily understand the process when they review these steps.
5. Build up their confidence
Celebrate the little victories to keep their confidence up and get them excited about moving to the next step. Avoid being condescending at all costs. Be patient in assisting older adults and offer some positive reinforcement during the process. Acknowledge that this can be an overwhelming process for everyone and congratulate them on their determination to stay involved. Remind them that they’re learning something new during this challenging time, and while it can be a struggle—it can also be very rewarding.
6. Address online safety
Those who are less familiar with the tech world likely falls into two categories. Either they’re very hesitant to adopt it for security reasons or they may be at risk of not being secure enough when it comes to creating passwords and avoiding scams. Emphasize the importance of their personal responsibility in creating strong passwords and not clicking on suspicious links. Also, let them know the security measures of the platforms you’re encouraging them to use.
For example, if you’re showing them how to give online using Kindrid, inform them that the giving platform is a Level 1 PCI Compliant Provider, meaning we adhere to highest set of security standards in the payment card industry.
7. Explain the value of technology
If they’re hesitant, explain the value of technology during times like the Coronavirus outbreak. It’s understandably frustrating trying to catch up and learn new technology when tensions are already high amid a global crisis—try to highlight the positives and what a unique opportunity this presents for them to stay involved in their community from the safety of their own home.
In some instances, bringing a church online has actually increased member engagement! You can also emphasize that by learning some of these skills now will help them continue to stay more connected even after life has returned to normal. There’s no downside to staying in touch with loved ones!