Be kind to your elders…uh, self

Ever try to teach an elderly parent how to perform the simplest task on their new tablet or computer? My mom (ok, she’s 92), is notorious for having documents “just disappear.” She has repeatedly told me and my siblings that her “writer” isn’t working. (What does that even mean?)

My father-in-law swears his new tablet doesn’t respond to the touch of his fingers. And although my husband set up a contact list and showed him all he has to do is touch the white envelope with the @ sign to send a relative an e-mail, he keeps his tablet in a drawer. It’s “too much to remember.”

Fast forward to this Blogging101 enrollee. I pay my bills online, live on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook, play Words with Friends for hours, and communicate soley through texts and emails. Despite this incredible course, and support from The Commons, I have stressed out more than a few times. Although I’m 56, not in my 90’s, I’m struggling at times to make sense of the new terms and unchartered territory. And, (can’t believe I’m admitting this publically) I “lost” my downloaded header and still haven’t located spellcheck.

If you’re new to this whole blogging idea, let’s just acknowledge that technology induced ineptness  can be on a scale according to age.  And not to be age discriminate (where the heck is spellcheck?!) the following is probably geared more to the 50+ crowd.

How Not to Quit when Blogging 101 is a struggle:

  • Really read through Josh’s assignment email to the end. Don’t try to skim through it, then “work it out.” If you get stuck, go back and read it again, following directions.
  • Use the links in the emails, but concentrate on ONE task at a time. It’s easy to go off on tangents and forget your immediate task
  • Read a lot of blogs, About pages, and check out formats. No need to reinvent the wheel.
  • If it feels like work, that’s because it is! Don’t look for an easy way out.
  • You’re behind closed doors. Nobody needs to know how many HOURS you spent trying to figure out how to embed, or upload, or find the elusive spell check!
  • Be kind to your elderly parents self. You’re trying something new….at age  _________(fill in the blank). And that can only be a good thing!
  • Relax. And wine. Wine is good.


32 thoughts on “Be kind to your elders…uh, self

    1. Oh my goodness, this was clearly written just for me. On my blog yesterday I described how I was on the verge of giving up. Then I had lots of supportive comments and someone sent me the link to your blog. If I knew how to, I would put a link to them to give them a credit, but I can’t remember how to do it.
      I really like writing and I do want to have s blog, but at the age of 60 (aargh how can I be that old, there must be some mistake!) I think I’m starting to find technological things more difficult, but I know I can do it if I keep going….. I love your blog and wish mine looked like yours. I find the Blogging101 tasks difficult, what on earth is s widget, a RSS feed and a URL. I find there’s not enough time to practice them before the next task comes along, but hopefully I’ll get there in the end….

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Your comment was a breath of fresh air to me. How nice it is to have some one “get me” and going through the same thing.
        I definitely want you to be with me on this journey!
        I am proud of us;)!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes Fandancer I understand. I don’t know what widgets and RSS’s are either. We’re in this together and it’s gong to be ok. I can’t get my site to look like I want it to, and the menu vs category vs tags confuses me. I am probably using it as an excuse not to write an assignment. Hang in there!


      3. Your site’s looking great, Karen! Maybe someday we’ll figure out the RSS’s and widgets, etc. but for now I think we’re ok. Yeah us for not giving up:)!


  1. Boy, can I relate to all of the above! My mom, also 92, gave me back the robotic vacuum I bought her so she wouldn’t have to work so hard to clean up the cat hair and dust. “I can’t do tech,” she said.

    On the other hand, quite often my iPhone doesn’t respond to my touch. It used to, and now it doesn’t always. Same for iPads and the grandchildren’s tablets. I don’t know if my fingers are too hot or too cold, or what. It’s not like I haven’t used smart phones and tablets for years. I have. Perhaps your father-in-law has a similar issue.


  2. I’m going to go the other direction and suggest that your wonder 92 year old mother may have more to teach than she does to learn and that there are other forms of communication than electronic. For starters, she is 92. No bad karma towards anyone, but how many of us reading or commenting on this post will see the age of 92. I did enjoy reading the entire post as well as the comments. Well done, everyone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not nearly enough room here to list the ways my mom communicates as an artist, a writer, a public speaker, an avid talker (!)…but, learning technology doesn’t come naturally. Like mother, like daughter in that area.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great advice: don’t beat yourself up. The golden rule of usability is that if you find something difficult to use (something appropriate, as when a literate adult is using a blogging platform) — that’s not your fault, it’s a fault of design. Usability pioneer Donald Norman in “The Design of Everyday Things” explains it beautifully. His elderly mother asked him to set up her video player, and he struggled. He wrote (more or less): “You’d need two post-graduate engineering degrees from MIT to do this. But wait, I do have two post-graduate engineering degrees from MIT and I can’t do it. That can’t be right…”

    My own company’s business is all online and still I find some of these tasks difficult. Worst hurdle: I use Penscratch, and I long for a front page in a grid pattern showing images and excerpts of posts, responsive design of course, free and with buttons, menus and community and more. Hammering and hauling and thrashing and tweaking a lovely template into my preferred shape is probably not the way to go. By the way, I don’t buy your theory of age-related technological ineptitude!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I did state CAN BE a factor although “ineptitude” might not have been the best word choice. Truth: I do not learn as quickly at 56 as I did at age 20. My mom does not learn as quickly as she did at age 56. Also, I am not beating myself up at all but I also am not blaming design.. I love the challenge of figuring all this out and realize I have been out of the tech realm and have some catching up to do! And my mom and I get a lot of laughs trying to figure things out on her end, too! Thanks for your comments! This has been interesting!


  4. I’m doing some of the same things for my wire. There are things I have been explaining to her about her PC for years. It all comes down to practice. The only way to get good a something is to do it a lot. Someone oven came up with a phrase for it last month. Practice makes perfect. Maybe it wasn’t last month, but someone said it.


  5. Yes… My mother is a similar age and also complains about losing text. I am always amazed that she managed to master google mail at all. I find it obscure at best. But I think like some of the other commenters, maybe your mother has more wisdom than you ascribe to her. Maybe she doesn’t care as much as you think and maybe she just likes to moan about it, like I moan about Microsoft.
    For instance, my mother is an expert typist from way back. But she sends me emails full of errors because she can’t be bothered to fix them. And no, her eyesight is perfect.
    Older people are just different. Be happy they can be bothered at all with ‘smart’ technology.
    I loved your post, by the way! As you can see… thought provoking.


    1. Had to go back and re-read my post. Never meant to imply she lacks wisdom…at all (!) in any way! (Surprised by the few people who made that comment!) She has more patience and humor about learning (and relearning) how to use her PC than I do with learning this whole blogging thing! Regardless, I’m please that it sparked interest and grateful for your comments and the others! I can see where the blogging community can get interesting!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. True story, when my elderly father lived with us I helped him set up an email account. Almost every time he tried to send an email he’d come to me for help because he couldn’t get into his account. The problem? His password was “genius” and he could never remember how to spell it. Talk about irony!


  7. I am sorry that I misunderstood your post.
    However, your first paragraph does imply that your ‘elderly’ parent may have problems with the ‘simplest’ task on their ‘new’ tablet… You also say she is ‘notorious’ which frankly implies a bad quality of the person. And you also say she calls it her ‘writer’ which also implies some lack of sophistication on her part.
    In contrast, I didn’t see a part that indicates any special wisdom on her part throughout the post.
    But there you go. Clear communication is indeed very tricky.
    Sort again that I got it wrong. I hope my error didn’t cause you any offence.


  8. I love it! You had me laughing. The humor in your writing is just write (or right?). Just kidding. I was trying to find the spellcheck after writing my blog. The good thing is I am a really good speller. I am 57 and I feel you about paying bills online, email, texting, etc. I will say this. I have had my cell phone for two years (and need to get an upgrade) but just starting figuring out features that make things so much easier. Lol…we relate to each other. I will follow you because I look forward to reading more of what you right (or write?). Just kidding…


    1. Glad you stopped by and could relate…or should I give you my sympathy!? I used to he a good speller too….now I’m just a chronic updater because I tend to see my errors so much better after they’ve been posted!

      Liked by 1 person

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