Old Dogs in a New World: Teaching Seniors How to Thrive in the Age of Technology

Ever hear the saying “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks?”

There seems to be a prevalent notion in our society that the older we get, the harder it is for us to learn new things. This misconception has been especially applied to older generations and their ability (or lack thereof) to adapt to the technological changes of the modern age.

As a result of higher life expectancy and the immensity of baby boomers, the number of Canadian seniors has dramatically increased in recent years. Currently, more seniors remain active in the workforce in their late 60s and into their 70s than ever before. This makes it extremely important for us to discard our preconceived notions and understand the real challenges faced by seniors when it comes to adopting technology.

Statistics Canada released a study that found that with increased age, there is a decrease in the amount of technology that is being taken advantage of. Furthermore, a staggering 40% of working adults struggle with technology in the workplace which is affecting their overall work productivity. More astounding is the 60 % of seniors not utilizing technology to stay connected with friends and families simply because they lack the knowledge to do so. While a knowledge gap may in fact exist between younger and older generations, this lack of knowledge does not stem from an inability to learn but from a lack of familiarity and experience with new technologies.

One challenge facing older adults with respect to technology is a lack of confidence in their own ability to learn about and properly use technological devices and social media. However, with a little bit of help and guidance, more seniors are beginning to embrace technology. A study spearheaded by the University of Regina found that while older adults are starting to engage more with technology for leisure, they still face many obstacles that prevent ease of use. Many of those attempting to use social media to stay connected with family or friends have a lack of confidence and struggle with getting assistance from others. This is why Synchroworks Consulting will be launching a series of seminars geared towards older users who wish to adapt to our modern age and thrive in an increasingly technological environment.

As the age gap continues to increase, the number of older adults using the internet is also steadily increasing. According to the 2016 Canadian General Social Survey, 68% of individuals aged 65 years and older use the Internet at least a few times a month. In 2011, Facebook reported an 80% increase in new users over the age of 55 and a 67% increase in 2012. It is our mission to equip these users with the tools and confidence they need to adapt to our new world.

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