by Nichool Castro
“Abuela, do you remember your password?” I asked for the third time. “I need your password to transfer all the data to your new phone.”
“You know my password,” she replied. I could see she was getting frustrated.
As soon as she asked me for help transferring her contact information to her new phone, I knew we were going to have this conversation. Sad to say, this wasn't our first rodeo.
“Mom, did you write it on a piece of paper somewhere?,” my mother asked from the kitchen.
My grandmother stormed out of the living room without a word. I sighed. I couldn’t comprehend why it was so difficult for my grandmother to remember her password. I’m pretty sure we made it simple enough for her to remember.
I looked at her. I truly looked at her, and my heart was constricted. This woman raised six children, survived a civil war, migrated to a new country… and yet she couldn’t remember her password. For more than seven decades, she overcame every challenge in her way, yet technology seems to elude her. Why?
Then a lightbulb lit up in my brain…While older generations have adapted to the wonders of the internet and digital devices, they often face a constant need to learn, update, and adapt, making the journey in this digital realm a tad daunting. For many seniors, technology is not intuitive, logical or easy. It is incomprehensible, difficult, strange.
I needed to go to my settings and couldn’t find the app. I scrolled, swiped, and looked. Nothing. Frustrated, I typed in the search bar: settings.
Ha! There it is. Nice! I like the new design but wait...why did they change the look of it and why did they move it?! So inconvenient. This took me a couple of seconds longer than I thought it would, thanks to that update.
I caught myself getting upset at ... that?
Then, I remember my grandmother and other seniors I have helped in the past and put myself in their shoes. How long would it have taken them to learn that their setting app was moved and re-designed? What is it like for them every time their phone updates?
Whether it's the latest smartphone update or transitioning from iOS to Android, keeping up can be overwhelming; and the constant learning curve can lead to feelings of frustration and discouragement, especially when they thought they had finally mastered a particular technology, only to find it has changed again.
A Pew Research report highlighted that “25% of adults ages 65 and older reported never go online”. This statistic underscores the digital divide. As society continues its rapid digital transformation, it is essential to ensure seniors have access to the support, education, and resources they need to thrive in this digital era.
Next time you encounter someone that it struggling with technology, help them and tell them it is okay to struggle with technology, we all do.
Because we all do.
If you don't believe me, I invite you to go to your history and type “how to.." or "how do you...” and see the results. 😉