We are living in a digital world. On the one hand, we can find out how to do anything quickly. But passwords and system up-grades rule our lives. For many seniors, this digital world is hard to navigate.
Living in a Digital World
We are living in a digital world. Electronic circuits were miniaturized in the late 1950′ with the invention of the micro chip. The digital world has been growing since then. Despite almost 7 decades to adjust, I still have trouble with digital devices. I have learned how to deal with new digital devices so that, at least, I am not intimidated. I always do 6 things when using a digital device that I have not used before.
Do the digital changes in the world some times frustrate you? Do my 6 steps to dealing with the digital world work for you?
Old school technology was usually pretty complicated. But, I was used to it so it didn’t intimidate me. Think about a typewriter. There was a complicated machine. After rolling one sheet of paper into the machine, that sheet had to be centered and squared using two or three different levers. Then the paper had to be advanced by hitting a lever to leave a top margin. A tab key was hit to indent for a paragraph. Shift keys and shift lock keys were used to set capitals. Ink for printing was held on cloth roll. Changing that roll was a complicated, messy process. Multiple copies called for carbon paper which meant another complicated, messy process. This Smith-Corona Electra was top of the line. If a person could use a type writer, a cell phone or keyboard should be easy.
Drink Vending Machines
A coke machine was another complicated machine. After dropping your change into the slot, there were various ways to get your drink. All of them involved pulling a bottle out of a mechanism. If your pull was not the right strength or speed, you often lost your change. Selecting the proper number for your drink, in an automatic machine was tricky. A wrong selection number would deliver the wrong drink. The drinks in these machines hung up about 1/2 the time. The digital machines are actually easier to use and more reliable. There is a huge variety of drink combinations to choose from. If you pick the wrong drink, hitting the “back icon” starts the process over. There are no moving parts to the digital drink machines of today. Digital machines are intimidating, but more efficient than manual models.
At the Counter
Remember the good old days when you spoke to a clerk, receptionist or server at the doctor’s office or a fast food restaurant? It was easy to ask questions, find a rest room or place a very specific order. Not anymore. Digital is much more efficient. Digital devices have allowed many businesses to cut back on staff. Where a server was needed at each cash register in a fast food restaurant to take orders, that function can now be eliminated. Where a receptionist was needed to check to make an appointment, record intake information and maintain the appointment schedule, a touch pad now does all the work. Most of these digital pad are intuitive, but I still find them intimidating. There are always major delays if a pad stops functioning because there is not enough staff to pick up the slack.
Dealing with the Digital
- Tell yourself that if a 3 year old use digital things, you can, too. My 3 year old granddaughter often said, “Papa, push this picture.”
- Know your information before you start. Pausing as you use a digital machine can sometimes cause it to time out. For me, the stress of choosing an icon and deciding what information is needed is too much.
- Make your choices slowly. Carefully look at the choices for each entry. Pushing the wrong icon can take you to a completely new place in the system.
- Make sure of your aim as you push each icon. Pushing the wrong icon can take you to a completely new place in the system.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If staff can be found, they can help. The people behind you that your a delaying will probably also help.
- Make sure that you complete the process. Not finishing the process can sometimes mean that you must start over. Others cannot use the device until you have completed your session.