For some of us, technology is simple, seamless and fun. But for others, especially senior citizens, intimidation keeps them from enjoying opportunities to connect with friends, family and even their own past. By helping a senior, or anyone who’s new to technology get up to speed, you can help enrich lives, open new doors and quite possibly learn something new for yourself. Here are a few ideas for taking advantage of technology to create more good.
Make a digital connection with seniors. Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham found that, “seniors who regularly engage in Internet activity are less likely to feel lonely than those without a computer.” You can Skype with an isolated senior to help battle loneliness, and share a story and a smile. Volunteer from your home computer, tablet or even your mobile phone. You can also join AARP’s online community to connect with fellow members, brainstorm your next volunteer idea, and make a few new friends in the process. Looking for a quick and simple way to make a difference with your mobile phone? Dosomething.org shows you how to teach older adults to take a Snapchat selfie. And if you know someone who’s transitioning into an assisted living arrangement, you can share this online video that covers the essentials from A to Z.
Show your techno-savvy side. Are you an avid e-reader, savvy with a smartphone, or as comfortable with an iPad as you are a paper notepad? You can help older adults in your community learn about today's tech by following these simple tips and tools. Or, find your local library and ask about upcoming technology classes where you can offer your assistance. Passionate about technology in general? A local tech museum may be the best place to share your talents and inspire the next generation. And if you’re particularly enthusiastic about a new technology or device, you could even offer your own class at a library, senior center or local school.
Give your own volunteer program a high-tech boost. As the New York Society of Association Executives states, “Today's volunteers are no longer content to sit and stuff envelopes on Thursday afternoons. They put a high-value on their time and abilities and want volunteer assignments that tap into those talents and reward them with the satisfaction of having provided meaningful work. To succeed, you must develop ways to find, fulfill, and satisfy your volunteers.” The organization shares ideas for using technology to increase volunteer involvement and satisfaction, including how to collect data, track and personalize projects, and better communicate with your volunteers. You can also head to nonprofithub.org and learn how technology can make you a better volunteer recruiter.
Find more tech-focused opportunities in your community or online. Check out this simple volunteer search and use keyword “technology.”