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Innovative Elderly Care: Stimulating Your Parents’ Minds by Teaching Basic Computer Skills

Elder Care in Wayland, MA

Your elderly parents live in a world that is increasingly dependent on computers, yet many senior adults do not have a basic understanding of the computers and computer-based programs most people use on a daily basis. Many of these older adults left the workforce before the development of advanced computer technology, or worked in fields that did not require the use of computer programs. For some, this disconnect from technology can make them wary of computers and even more reluctant to attempt to use them. This, however, puts major limitations on them, including reducing their socialization opportunities, eliminating research and learning resources, and even keeping them from taking advantage of technologies that could improve their quality of life such as home automation.

Introducing your senior loved ones to basic computer skills and computer technology is a fantastic way to bring your elderly care efforts into modern times while also stimulating their minds. By learning these new skills, your aging parents can stretch their brains, improve memory retention and cognitive processing, and give themselves the capability to communicate, learn, and express themselves in convenient and efficient ways.

The computer skills and technology you teach your aging parents depends largely on your own computer literacy as well as the technology you have available. If their non-medical home care aide is adept at computer use and technology, encourage her to make working on these skills part of her regular elderly care activities with your seniors. She may be able to introduce them to skills you cannot, or can build on the skills you have taught them and give them opportunities to practice these skills as they get comfortable with them.

Some of the computer skills and computer-based technology you may want to teach your elderly loved ones include:

  • Basic functions. Before you can start working on any of the programs within the computer, you need to make sure your seniors are able to actually turn the machine on and use the most basic functions such as the mouse, keyboard, and menus. Spend some time teaching them these steps and encouraging them to do them on their own. This builds memory and critical thinking skills as well as early confidence and comfort with the machine itself. Make sure you also teach them to use the printer so they can print out documents they create or digital pictures.
  • Word processing. The ability to use a word processor effectively is one of the most basic computer skills after being able to turn it on and manage the mouse. Show your seniors how to open the word processing program, select a blank document, and add text. When they are comfortable with these processes, add changing the color and font of the text, inserting graphics, and changing the layout of the document. As they get used to these actions, your elderly parents can use the skill to put down their thoughts, draft notes and family newsletters, or even write down favorite stories they used to tell you when you were a child so you can share them with your own children.
  • Games. Computer games are fun, but there are benefits beyond their entertainment value. Many computer games require strategy, critical thinking, problem solving, and memory skills. The bright colors and graphics also stimulate the mind and encourage more creative thinking. Teach your parents how to access these games and play them.
  • Spreadsheets. For seniors who want to maintain at least some control over their finances and planning, spreadsheets offer organization as well as useful functions such as number processing.
  • Instant messaging. Real-time communication allows you to stay in touch with your seniors and gives them the opportunity to communicate with friends and family more efficiently. Teach them how to use instant messaging programs or messaging over social media platforms. If they have a webcam on their computer, teach them how to use video messaging. When they are comfortable with these skills you can transfer them over to other devices such as cell phones so they can take advantage of text messaging.

If you or an aging loved one are considering non-medical in-home care in Metrowest Boston, MA, call Griswold Home Care and speak to one of our caring staff members today. Call (781) 559-0073