“Abbie, while you’re here, can you help me log on to my bank account? It’s not accepting my password.”
“Honey, why aren’t I getting any email on my iPad? Will you look at this after lunch?’
“Abbala, sweetie – why do those messages pop up and then disappear? I can’t find them. Can you help me, dear?”
Whether you’re a tech support specialist like me or a child of a Boomer, no doubt, your parent will ask you to help them with their device! It happens every single time we interact with our parents – right? And this past year has promoted us into supporting both our Boomer parents and our kids with their tech. How did that happen? Did we ask for it? And how can we graciously manage this continuous responsibility?
When this invariably happens to me, whether it’s from a parent or client, I follow the following tips to keep my tech support helpful:
- Be Grateful – I still have 4 parents and one in-law living! The fact is this could change any day. In June of 2020, we lost my AOL-loving father in law to cancer. Now, when I support my folks with their tech, I approach their needs with gratitude. This puts me in the right mindset.
- Be Timely – I tell them, and myself, let’s focus on this for a half-hour, ok? I don’t want to take up all their time with the grandkids, nor do I want to be stuck behind their computer when it’s my day off. If we need more time than a half-hour to finish the task, we schedule for me to come back during the week. Honestly, sometimes I wish they’d have a “senior moment” and forget they asked in the first place!
- Be Patient – I expect my folks & clients to need a double dose of patience. A recent Pew Research Center study found that 77% of older adults needed assistance in learning how to use new technology. Our modern-day devices were just handed to them without any explanation or formal introduction and this is contrary to how they learn. React like they’re a teenager who has just started driving. You wouldn’t expect a new driver to immediately understand how to operate a car, would you? That’s why there’s Driver’s Ed and you have to practice before you get your license! The same applies to our folk’s technical learning curve.
- Be Visual – Boomers LOVE visual guidance. Write down the simple 1, 2, 3 steps you went through with them, so they can refer to that guidance when you’re not there. The keyword is simple – as in KISS, Keep it Simple, Senior. We don’t use the other “S” word, because we value their wisdom. For example, if they need assistance unsubscribing to an email in their Gmail account, write down simple steps such as:
1. Open your inbox.
2. Click on the email you want to stop receiving.
3. Select the Stop Sign icon up top to Report Spam (which also unsubscribes).
- Be Prepared – There’s a very strong likelihood that you’ll have to review these concepts with them again. So, tuck this fact in your back pocket, they’re going to ask you for help again, and it could very well be on the same topic you helped them with last week. When they ask for your help, repeat the steps.
Remember, this is all part of the cycle where we now give back to the ones who sacrificed for us. It’s a gift you can give to them. If you find yourself at the end of your rope, reach out to me and I’ll step in for you.
My name is Abbie, I’m the Tech Guru for Seniors, and I relieve tech stress from seniors, so they can thrive in today’s world. I’m the founder of Senior Savvy which provides tech support and Zoom workshops for older people throughout the US. Please reach out with any questions! I can be reached at 480-544-7060. My social media links and bio are below.