Bridging the Gap—Computer Lessons with the Savvy Seniors of Stein

senior computer classSince its’ inception the 1980s, the internet has become one of the primary resources for information and communication. For many seniors, learning how to use computers is an exciting experience! However, it can also be intimidating and discouraging when learning doesn’t come easily. To ease the process, Stein Assisted Living has been offering weekly classes to its residents who are interested in becoming computer savvy.

On a Tuesday afternoon, one can find Randy Fisher teaching residents how to complete a task of their choice in our Media Center. In twenty- to thirty-minute sessions, Randy starts by getting to know a little bit about each resident and what their motivation is for learning.

“For many of the residents, it’s about learning, discovery and even companionship. Being patient when teaching is important, and I feel like that’s what makes me good for this job. I enjoy working with seniors and talking to them in an understandable way. They’re often told or made to believe that they can’t do something, and it’s good to see them realize that they can.”

Randy often uses metaphors and simplified methods for teaching new concepts to our residents. For example, when explaining the concept of websites and web addresses, he likened it to using a street address to find the location of a store. After using this idea with one of our residents, Sophie, they then proceeded to visit a department store website and learn about online shopping. In another instance, he showed Stein resident, Tina, how to navigate a web browser by using the concept of finding everything you need at home – thus clicking the home-button to get there.

Some residents are even hoping to one day take their learning to new heights. “I’m here for help using my iPad. I can do my banking on it and everything, but one day I want to develop an app!” one resident, Sandy, shared during his session. senior computer lesson

These lessons also enable our residents to communicate with friends and family in a way that many of them had not imagined possible. “One of my favorite times teaching this class was when I put a resident on a video call with her grandchildren in Israel. The pure unadulterated joy on her face…. It was great to be able to do that for her!” Randy recalled.

Having patient and encouraging staff is important to effective learning, but so is the technology used. Our Stein Assisted Living Media Center is equipped with Telekin touch-screen computers that include home screens with easy access to email, web, video chat, news and more. Large-print keyboards are also used to make the typing process easier.

Something as simple as a video call can brighten the day of residents and their families alike. In a day and age where world news, the weather, television programs, and limitless knowledge are just a click away, it is extremely beneficial to have basic computer skills. Stein Assisted Living is happy to have the opportunity to help its residents gain confidence in using these tools.