Breath In, Breath Out and Stay Calm When Teaching Your Elderly Parents about Technology

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

YouTube Excitement

It’s been a challenging couple of weeks. My elderly father is in town. He is slow-paced in his ways but then again, he’s 81-years-old. Dad is quite smart and even though he is not too knowledgeable about the latest technology, once he learns, he’s unstoppable. A few months ago, he discovered YouTube. It was miraculous for him. As an avid gardener, he began researching anything and everything regarding gardening. Every time I called him, he would give me a lecture on how to fertilize this, and how to water that, and so on.

“You don’t have YouTube,” Dad would tell me.

“Dad, of course, I have access to YouTube. It is everywhere for anyone to access,” I’d respond.

“No, but in my YouTube, I learn how to care for my garden,” he’d reply.

Realizing he did not understand the YouTube concept, I opted to let it be. Dad watched the YouTube videos on his home television but claimed it was hard to navigate the keyboard on the remote. While there is a television in the bedroom he’s using, there is no extra keyboard, but I had an older laptop that was no longer in use. I asked him if he’d like to have it. His eyes gleamed with excitement as a child does. Therefore, I set up the laptop for his use and gave it to him. It thrilled him to learn to use it. 

I Need to be Patient

While sometimes it annoyed me to repeat things, it also made me realize his mind was not as sharp as before and I needed to have patience. I took a couple of breaths in and out to calm myself and patiently taught him how to navigate a laptop. I’m also aware he used my son’s expertise to master his way around the internet.

Upgrade to a Newer Phone

Just a few days ago, while we spent some time together, I noticed his old school cell phone. He told me he has had it for the past six or seven years. I asked him if he’d like to upgrade it. My son had recently upgraded his cell phone and still held on to his old iPhone XS. When he excitedly told me he would love to as long as he didn’t have to pay anything, I laughed but got to work on switching phones. He is still learning his way around the iPhone but is keen to learn and picks up quickly. 

Dad’s Emoji — Photo by the Author

Emoji Fun and Email

Today, I taught him how to create his own emoji. He laughed at it and said it did not look like him. But I could tell he was excited to use it — especially when I heard he sent his wife the emoji.

He also inquired about the E-mail address I created for him. “What is this and what is it for?” he asked.

“That’s your E-mail address Dad?” I replied.

“What does it do?” he asked.

I explained how and what the E-mail is for. I’m quite surprised he understood it so quickly.

“It’s like writing a letter and sending it, but instead of sending it through regular mail, you send it through the internet,” he responded.

“Yes Dad, that’s exactly what it is,” I said, as I looked at his gleaming eyes.

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They Taught Us

My point is, I’ve heard people complain about how their elderly parents have forgotten how to perform some basic things and they have to reteach them. While I was teaching my father how to use a laptop and an iPhone, I realized how fragile their minds are. I had patience in teaching my children, just like my parents had it with me. I remembered how Dad taught me to drive with patience and perseverance. He never scolded or gave up on me. Therefore, why can’t I have the patience to help him in his time of need? Every day he asks me something regarding his iPhone, and I learned to respond to his questions patiently and sweetly.

Therefore, never forget that possibly one day, we will all be at the other end of this journey and will need our children’s help. So be patient and nice while responding to their questions and/or teaching them about something not familiar to them, because they were patient and nice to you.


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