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Teaching senior citizens to use electronics takes patience for all parties

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Many of us have experienced a parent or grandparent getting a new phone, tablet or computer then struggling to learn how to use it.

The process of showing them the ropes is sometimes frustrating on both ends.

Whitney Bennington teaches a computer class for seniors at the Bette Rae Thomas Recreation Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“They really felt intimidated and just out of touch,” she says.

Everything from basics like introducing the ‘on’ button and keyboard, to playing games was new for her students Janie Truesdale and Teresa Anderson.

“I had a fear, thought if I pushed the wrong button I might break the computer,” Truesdale recalls.

“It’s emotional for me because I knew nothing,” Anderson adds.

That knowledge can be empowering.

“I feel more independent, more confident, more sure of myself,” Anderson says now.

If you’re teaching a loved one who isn’t familiar with the tech world, Bennington suggests keeping it simple and resisting the urge to do it for them.

“Let them do it and talk them through it,” she advises.

As for the students, they have some advice too.

“Be patient. Keep smiling. Tell them it’s okay to mess up,” Anderson says.

 

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