August 01, 2021

Screen savvy

Technology is not just a tool for the young. The COVID-19 pandemic sped up the movement of basic tasks — ordering groceries, seeing a doctor, banking, connecting with friends — from in person to on screen. Still, it can be daunting to navigate these tech tools. Follow these tips:

  • Ask for assistance — Don't hesitate to ask an adept family member or neighbor to help you go over a particular device or program. Be humble and patient. You might consider offering to reimburse your helper for his or her time.
  • Get trained — Sign up for a computer course at a community college or through a nearby computer store. Your local senior center or community education office may offer resources. You could also tune in to classes on sites such as https://edu.gcfglobal.org/en/ and https://learn.aarp.org.
  • Familiarize yourself with helpful tools — Most health care systems have a portal for accessing health records, getting appointment updates and ordering prescription refills. Ask your care team for resources on using these sites.
  • Seek out the good — Try to limit time online in which you're solitary, sedentary or staring blankly at the screen. Instead, aim to spend time online interacting with others on platforms such as Skype, Zoom and FaceTime; getting education from experts in TED Talks or interest groups; or exercising via workout videos on YouTube.
  • Set limits — It's common to think of kids as being screen...