Are you the generation that technology forgot? 8



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There is no shortage of technology around today — a far cry from what life used to be like when you were growing up, we’re sure.

Did you know there are hearing devices with GPS capability, or robots that can carry you should you need a bit of a lift, or even wireless sensors on mats that can be used to alert your relatives in the event you should stop moving around the house?

Sounds a bit much, doesn’t it? Do you really need all of this technology, when some over-60s are still grappling with the basics that the younger generation takes for granted.

A guy by the name of Ian Hosking is an expert in design for the over-60s with the University of Cambridge’s engineering design centre and says that before you get ahead of yourselves it’s important to get the basics right first.

“There are some very tech-savvy older people around, but there is clearly a large cohort of people who feel excluded by technology. They find it a bit impenetrable,” Hosking tells the BBC.

He’s on the money.

Bill, 69, has made a gutsy effort to get to grips with a wide range of technology. He’s sat at the trusty desktop computer, had a crack at an e-reader, punched fruitlessly at a smartphone and even gave online shopping a go… Once.

He says he wants to buy a tablet, but he’s not really sure how to use one and if you’re being honest, Bill’s not alone. In fact, most over-60s have needed some assistance to get themselves through the process of setting up a new device.

“I tried navigating the internet on a smartphone, but found it difficult,” Bill says.

“The writing was too small so I struggled to read what was on the screen. Maybe a tablet will be better, but I won’t be able to make phone calls with one of those, will I?”

The younger generation might get frustrated with you because you don’t find a gizmo as easy to use as they do, but here’s the thing — your response time is different. Using a touchscreen is no trouble at all so long as you have a steady hand and sensitive fingers.

Handsets developed with ‘aged people in mind’ often look incredibly old-fashioned and appear somewhat patronising when you take in the big buttons, extra-loud speakers, hearing aid compatibility or longer battery life (and we could all do with longer battery life, really).

“I don’t want that,” says Bill.

What Bill wants is to not be left behind in a world where technology is advancing at a rapid pace.

Do you feel you have a good grasp on technology? What is one gadget that gets you unstuck?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. I’m baffled. I’m a baby boomer and I have just one thing to say when I hear that older people don’t understand PCs – “My generation invented the bloody things!” Compared with the big, slow, clunky things we had in the early days, modern PCs (and laptops and tablets) are a breeze; just a matter of “Read the bloody manual” or get someone more savvy to show you and stop bleating about it. QED!

    4 REPLY
    • I agree. Most of us used computers, iPhones, tablets long before we retired. Anyone not familiar, do one of the short courses available.

    • I agree. As a SF fan I have spent my life waiting for technology to catch up to what I want. Yes, there are some things I can’t be bothered with (gaming, Pokemons etc.) and I might not be able to rebuild computers – but I can’t rebuild a car but that doesn’t stop me from using one!

    • I absolutely agree, Chris. If the younger generation can do it, so can we. Sometimes it just takes the wish to learn and a patient teacher. My Mother is 90, had no prior knowledge of computers etc. but manages to use her iPad daily – she learned at 88! Kaye

    • What bloody manual? So many devices do not come with a full manual as it is assumed one knows the basics and only the advanced features are profiled.

      1 REPLY
  2. $80 an hour! Seriously I don’t know why more people haven’t tried this, I work two shifts, 3 hours in the day and 3 in the evening…And whats awesome is Im working from home so I get more time with my kids.. ————

    Here is what i did———————- MaxReview.Tk

  3. I think there is a big “fear” factor among some older people who may not have been in a position, or didn’t need, to work with computers in their jobs before they retired and are then scared to tackle them from scratch. However, there are lots of ways of learning to use them from your local U3A, local council senior groups, the Broadband for Seniors program, ASCCA, and others. You can google all these groups to find contact details.

    In my experience, once many doubtful seniors have learned the basics and can use a tablet or PC, they quickly realise the benefits and often wish they had done it earlier. On the other hand, education and life experience plays a part. I once ran a PC class for seniors at my local council and soon realised there are people who are not in any way interested in what a computer can offer – they don’t read, they don’t do puzzles or crosswords, they aren’t interested in news and current events, they don’t want to do Face book or Twitter, and they see no practical use in having one. Horses for courses i suppose.

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