[HOW TO] Getting the Elderly Up To Speed On The Internet: Facebook And Beyond (part 3)

After my mother and I went over the previous two parts of this series (part one, part two), I left her for a week to try and experiment with what she learned and I was really proud of what she achieved. Never mind that she now checked the pictures of friends of friends of people I never heard of, but she was now curious about who is that girl that is commenting on my brother’s profile, and what are all those weird messages of psychics and farm animals that keep on showing up on her homepage. She also informed of a ‘new’ use that she has found for Facebook for she has ‘discovered’ that by clicking on events on the homepage she will be able to see and plan for everyone’s birthday and she was excited about learning that little tidbit on her own.

While I could have delved deeper into Facebook explaining applications and games, I choose to leave that for a different day and focus on taking her a bit outside of Facebook on this day, focusing our time on two things; Gmail and Skype.

As I Write This Email … Send My Love To You

Creating a Contact List Helps

Getting my mother to understand the concept was very simple now that she was familiar with Facebook messages. The only part that she didn’t get was how she was supposed to figure out the address of people that she wanted to get in touch with, and I replied with simply “just ask on Facebook”. With that out of the way, I inputted all the addresses that she will be using into her contacts so that she can access them easily by selecting their name from the “To:” field.

Hello … Is It Me You Are Looking For?

Skype was a bit trickier since we are no longer just dealing with a browser but with both MS Windows and another application. That posed a slight challenge, because while my mother has gotten used to dealing with the browser environment, everything beyond that has been a mystery that she didn’t want to unravel.

Skype Me

So after setting up Skype to remember her account and to run on startup, I made the analogy that Skype is exactly the same as Facebook messenger and it even allows you to call other people. When someone is calling you, a notification will pop up on the bottom right of the screen and when you click on it will open a chat box. With those instructions my mom was able to receive her first call using the head set I bought for her.

No Second Thoughts

Now, at this point, I was starting to realize the limitations of continuing to ignore Microsoft Windows. Explaining where the downloaded images go to, or how to navigate the drives to upload images can’t be done without using Windows Explorer. Usually, uploading or sharing content is the area where Windows would be involved. Therefore, rather than complicate things on my mother at only the second week of her computer literacy program, I chose to limit her to viewing content for now until I formulate a method that wouldn’t be confusing for her or finding a method that makes it a lot easier to navigate windows folders.

Do you have any suggestion as how to make using Skype easier for seniors? Do you have any tips to getting seniors to grasp Windows explorer and use it effectively? Share with us your experiences and thoughts in the comment section below.

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