Cross-generational advice is a real challenge, especially when it is coming from the younger generation to the older. Seniors may have a hard time hearing advice from their children because, all else being equal, the child does not have the same amount of life experience.
Financial advice from an adult child usually doesn’t go over so well. But there are ways to bridge the gap and make the advice more palatable. Because technology is an area younger people tend to know, a parent might listen to an adult child about financial advice in the form of good tech investments.
Because many seniors do not keep up with technology to the extent of their children, they are more inclined to accept tech advice from their children. This is where you can have a big impact on the life of a senior within your sphere of influence. When the subject of tech comes up, find a way to offer them the following advice:
Don’t Buy More Phone Than You’re Comfortable with
The iPhone X is the hottest new device of 2017. It will likely extend its dominance well into 2018. But it is way too much phone for most people. It is expensive, fragile, and has a somewhat steep learning curve compared to the iPhone you’re used to. And while it is an excellent smartphone, it is far from essential. If you don’t want one, you are not missing out.
A smart cell phone for seniors is one they can afford, understand, and easily use. Big numbers and hardware buttons are more important than the latest software keyboard. Call quality and volume are more important than instant messaging apps.
Even seniors can experience peer pressure. Advise them to get the level of smartphone they are comfortable with, not the one the salesperson gets the biggest commission for pushing that day. Don’t let them feel inadequate because their phone didn’t come with a dual lens that is paired with a special chip for computational photography. Forget about the things that matter to you. And think about the things that matter to them.
Lock It Down
Your parents are probably already somewhat suspicious of technology. So you might not want to add to their worries. But it is vital you make them understand that any device that can connect to the internet is vulnerable to all manner of sophisticated attacks. You need to walk your parents through basic security best practices so they can lock down their devices.
It turns out that the way you teach kids about computer security is equally suitable for teaching seniors. All the same lessons apply. You will also want to walk them through two-factor authentication and explain why and how to use it.
Teach them what internet scams look like. It is not just the Nigerian prince they have to worry about. And if you still have their attention, be sure to give them a tutorial on phishing. Criminals target seniors online. Don’t let your loved ones become victims.
Make It More Accessible
Seniors don’t like to admit when their vision or hearing is fading. The will often strain their eyes rather than get new glasses. Even if they don’t ask, they will appreciate you showing them how to use the accessibility settings on their devices to make the font bigger. iOS has accessibility settings that are targeted at almost every disability a person could have.
There is even compatibility with hearing aids. If a person has motor skills challenges, there’s a setting for that. Does the motion graphics in the interface make you queasy? Turn it off. You can even have text on the screen read aloud and photos and videos described. Make sure your parents know where the accessibility settings are, and how to use them.
Your parents may listen to you with regards to tech where they wouldn’t listen to you about their nest egg. So when you have their attention, advise them against getting more smartphone than they can handle. Teach them how to be safe on the internet. And make sure accessibility is not a problem for them.