10 Reasons Seniors Struggle with Technology: A Behind the Screens Look

| Updated on March 4, 2024

Today’s seniors didn’t grow up with the touchscreens and Bluetooth connections of the modern-day. Much like a Gen Z child would struggle to operate a rotary phone, older adults often struggle to adapt to today’s technology. 

Modern technology can make life easier and can be a game-changer for senior citizens who manage to conquer the challenge despite the initial learning curve. If there’s a technophobic senior in your life, here are ten reasons why they might struggle to embrace the cyber revolution. 

Seniors Don’t Have Access to Senior-Friendly Tech

It’s not just seniors who struggle with technology, but their caregivers too. It costs a lot of money to buy newer technology accessible for older adults. Elderly-friendly tech is a growing market, with product offerings such as a Lively Flip phone aiming to bring seniors into the fold. 

These senior-specific phones have larger screens, oversized buttons, and easy access menus. Product offerings like these prove that accessibility can happen at the design level. 

Face-to-face Communication is Most Important.

For people aged fifty and over, the number one way they want to communicate with friends and family is face-to-face. The second-best way is by phone. After that, at number three, it’s email. Texting garnered only seventeen percent of responses, putting it at the bottom of the list for how older adults like to communicate. 

No doubt this makes sense given how hard texting can be for older adults, especially ones who aren’t used to using technology regularly. The small buttons and on-screen text can prove difficult for seniors with limited fine motor skills or nearsightedness. 

Seniors Don’t See the Benefit of Using Technology

Older adults may be afraid to learn modern technology because they feel it’s unnecessary. For example, an older adult may see no need for online banking because he has never had problems with a brick-and-mortar bank before. 

Such a person may even feel it’s unsafe since online banking is so complex. It may make seniors feel they have less control over essential information, and that insecurity can leave the door open for scammers hungry for sensitive financial information.

Seniors Struggle with Learning How to Use Technology

Technology moves fast, and skills fall by the wayside with every new innovative creation and update. It’s hard to keep up with new technology because of the rapid pace. Seniors can’t keep up with the learning curve that comes with any new technological skill. Many lack the foundational technological understanding that makes this process easier for millennials and Zoomers. 

The lack of skills causes many seniors to avoid using technology altogether, so they don’t have to learn it in the first place.

Seniors Struggle with Getting Assistance for Using Technology

It’s normal to need help when using something new. But when it feels like a burden to others, it can cause many seniors to dread technology altogether. 

For example, an older adult may have difficulty learning to Skype with family members who live out of town. So, the senior avoid that task and speaks with them on the phone or in person instead.

Senior’s Struggle Using a Computer Compared to a Tablet or Smartphone

While tablets and smartphones are great for seniors, switching from a laptop

is difficult. Not only does it take time to get used to the new device, but there are often fewer apps available on these devices than on computers.

Smaller Screens Create a New Problem

It’s difficult for seniors to use tablets, smartphones, or other devices because they have a small screens. It increases the likelihood of them feeling eye strain. There are more giant screens available, but sometimes they cost a lot more, making them not worth the risk for someone who will likely use one once and a while.

Seniors Struggle with Remembering Passwords

There’s no law saying that technology has to be complicated and confusing. But so many times, it becomes difficult, especially when one can’t log into a program when they need to. It can be a significant drain on time and patience.

Seniors Struggle with Using Technology Because of its Fast-paced Nature

Technology changes so quickly that some seniors can become frustrated by this process. Seniors also typically prefer not to learn new skills unless necessary for their work. This reluctance can be why seniors desire more convenient features like having a phone best used for calling instead of all the fancy options that make using the phone more challenging, like cameras and flashlights.

It Takes Time and Patience.

There’s no denying that it can be challenging to use many types of technology like computers and tablets. It requires a lot of time, patience, and energy. Everyone will not have enough space for this process.

Seniors Struggle with Using Technology Because It Doesn’t Work as Expected.

It’s become common for seniors to see how technology works in movies or television, but that exposure can be frustrating when it doesn’t match up with real life. The overstimulating features of smartphones and tablets don’t help reduce any senior anxiety about using them either.

Don’t Forget About Technical Glitches

For example, even though email is easy to access on a smartphone or tablet, these devices also often include texting. Then there is the possibility of technical glitches, freezes, and malfunctioning, making the process harder.

Seniors are Dealing with the Aging Process, and Learning New Technology is Not a Necessity

Learning how to use technology requires the proper energy and patience. Seniors should learn what they need to do their jobs or manage their personal lives.

Seniors are Dealing with Limited Financial Resources

Technology can be expensive. It’s not always worth purchasing a smartphone if someone isn’t going to use it frequently or adequately enough. It may not be worth getting an iPad for seniors because of the high learning curve that comes with it.

Others need to put themselves in their shoes. These problems are real concerns for seniors.

It’s vital to attempt to find out how to alleviate some of the discomforts in learning and adapting to new technology.

Wrap Up

Everyone has to deal with technical problems. But seniors are more vulnerable to facing them, so everyone needs to understand them better. Seniors make up more of the population than ever before, so this is even more reason to make things easier on them. After all, who wants their grandparents struggling with their phones?

Adam Green

With more than 3 years of experience as a software and tech writer on GetAssist.net Adam has been writing articles, blogs, and featured stories centered around the software and tech niche since he graduated from Virginia Tech University. He writes savvy articles, tutorials, and reviews that explain difficult concepts to readers of all levels. His expertise includes software development, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and emerging technologies. Through simple and engaging writing, Adam constantly delivers useful insights that enable readers to feel at ease in the ever-changing technological scene.

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