Getting to grips with technology is never easy, especially
for older people. It’s almost as alien as a foreign language if you haven’t
grown up with it.
But almost everything today involves technology whether we
like it or not. Our cars, TVs, central
heating systems, smart meters… And where would we be without ATM cash
machines and ePOS card terminals in shops?
How many of us have been using the keyboard almost every day for typing, without a second thought as to why it has so many more buttons than a typewriter?
It is really more of a mission control centre – the typewriter part is only one of 8 distinct sections, all with a different purpose. Then when you start combining keys, you open up all sorts of functionality.
So you want to use your credit card and the website doesn’t take them?
You’ve been searching high and low and just found exactly what you wanted on the internet. The last one in stock has been snatched and put into your shopping cart with a huge sigh of relief. Off you go to Checkout. Then you’ve filled in your name, address, email and countless other details and just as you’re reaching for your wallet, you see they don’t take credit cards – and you desperately want to use your credit card.
Some smaller websites will take debit cards, but not credit cards. Others will accept selected credit cards, but not American Express. Some will only take PayPal, and you don’t have – and don’t want – a PayPal account. So how can you use your credit card?
If you’re using home broadband over a copper wire telephone line, chances are that you’ll be cursing your broadband provider and muttering how useless your broadband upload speed is – suddenly it seems to slow down to a crawl whenever you try to upload anything . That’s because it does, relatively speaking.
So much for enlightenment! We bought Mum a Windows Vista laptop for her 70th. She was polite enough to thank us profusely, but underneath was clearly overwhelmed at the thought of having to learn how to use something she really had no need of.
Twelve years later she asked for a replacement Chromebook for her birthday because her current one had gone to the great technological graveyard in the sky, and she couldn’t Google anything, couldn’t see the We Love Our Village facebook page to ‘find out what was going on locally’ (a euphemism for stalking her neighbours and a liberal dose of voyeurism), couldn’t request doctors appointments or repeat prescriptions and – horror of horrors – couldn’t do her online shopping or look up Dave’s solutions to the Telegraph crossword.
Our family is mainly ancient. We have no young children or teenagers to ask
for help. Most of us struggle with the TV remote control so how are we expected
to use all the technology available to us?
A satellite Amazon warehouse
While I spend a lot of time doing online shopping and research, probably less than half that time is for me. My kitchen often looks like an Amazon warehouse. Parcels full of hearing aids and velcro shoes piling up, waiting to go to their forever homes. Heaven forbid they could be delivered direct to the rellies who don’t open the door to strangers in case it’s a scam to get into their home and rob them. But at least they bribe me with tea and cake (or, if I’m lucky, food and wine) when I get there, and it’s always lovely to see them.