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It has almost become cliché to assume that older Americans have a love/hate relationship with technology– leaning more toward hate. As it turns out, that is a broad generalization that is becoming less accurate as time goes on. Still, if you are one of those who struggles with your smartphone, laptop or PC, there are ways to become more proficient and to take advantage of the convenience of your devices.

There are valid reasons to become more comfortable with technology, especially for older adults. New technology offers wearable devices and even clothing that can monitor your blood pressure, count the steps you take every day and more. Smart home technology can make aging in place far more possible by allowing you to use voice controls to do everything from turning lights one and off to setting alarms systems in your house.

But how to get technologically able is the challenge. Keep in mind that younger people have used technology most or all of their lives. If you have younger relatives or friends, chances are they can assist you in learning to use your devices. The key is to not allow your frustration with technology to prevent you from learning how to use it. Government statistics reveal that Americans ages 60 and older—a group increasingly populated by aging Baby Boomers—spend more than half of their daily leisure time (just over 4 hours) on their TVs, computers, tablets or other electronic devices. However, unscientific observation would suggest that of those devices, the television is the screen of choice.

The good news is that researchers in this area are reporting their findings to technology companies. Those findings are encouraging the tech companies to create devices that are simpler to use and understand, and in some cases to create devices that mirror the use of traditional tech, such as televisions and radios. Tech companies are also introducing software that requires fewer actual keyboard steps to accomplish the required task.

Much of the technology you may need can be learned online. If you are already online, check for easy to follow self-guided tutorials on how to use computers, smart phones, a mouse, widely used software programs such as Microsoft Office, and more. These tutorials are generally created for people who do not have previous skills training. You will also find tutorials for both PCs and Apple products.

Classes and workshops are often offered by local libraries. These are low-pressure gatherings in which you will most likely be offered generous individual instruction. The East Baton Rouge Public Library offers occasional classes for beginners, but it always offers self-guided training at . Basic skills are emphasized at this site, including how to get started using a computer, how to use email, and how to use Microsoft Word to create and save documents.

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