There are eight key points to consider when computer coaching:
- Enable older adults to drive the direction and content of the sessions.
- Adopt “baby steps” to build confidence.
- Together share information that is stimulating, engaging and affirming.
- Provide new options only when specifically requested.
- Discover the older adults’ strengths and learning style to build their resilience and wellbeing. Resilience is the ability to adjust to life changes and can be developed by using a strength-based approach.
- Look for a WOW factor! Create excitement by showing something the older adult did not think possible.
- Demonstrate the different forms of information that are freely available. For example the Internet, music, films and books.
- Integrate the use of IT hardware into the body of your sessions. For example demonstrate how to use the mouse and keyboard while researching a topic of interest.
A Technology for Wellbeing coach does not need to be a “computer expert”, simply a confident user of one or more IT hardware devices.
There are significant factors that support a successful outcome in engaging older adults with computers and/or tablets.
Aim to always find and acknowledge the positive steps that the learner has achieved in the process and use that as the jumping-off point for further teaching and learning.
Effective listening requires asking questions that will further provide quality information about the situation in which they find themselves.
Remember, adult-to-adult conversations should always be respectful and supportive. Sitting back and actively listening to what the older adult wants to share is critical.
Allow time to be a ‘sounding board’ on topics important to the older adult.
Requests for specific help can be re-prioritised at the blink of an eye, depending on how the older adult is feeling on the day or what has transpired over the previous week. Plans for a learning session can be placed to one side in an instant if the other party is seeking general conversation and support.