A mobile chat with my mother usually goes off like this:
“Hello! Can you hear me! I am very busy so can’t talk much! I have a question.”
“Umm OK but is your speaker on? Can you please speak a little softly?”
“Yes, yes, OK… I know how to operate smartphones. Still smarter than a lot of you! Don’t waste my time; I need to go to the dentist so please book a cab for me.”
Despite pushing 80, my mom has a strong competitive spirit and has taught herself how to operate a smartphone, sign up on social media and listen to music. I have often been ticked off for not being considerate enough to read and like her posts!
The man-phone tussle senior citizens experience
As I drove to her place, I thought about her and all other Moms who are past their middle age. They must be struggling to come to terms with technological progress. It must be so difficult for them- from having the whole neighbourhood dropping in to watch Doordarshan on their new shiny black-and-white TV set to streaming the latest movies on their personal devices! From typing out letters on typewriters to emails on computers- they have a lot on their plate to adjust to.
It occurred to me that I need to help out more and not assume she can pick up the rest herself. I needed to show Mom how she can use her phone for booking cabs, ordering her meds, buying grocery and so on; it would be of immense help to her. She would feel tech-savvy and happy not to be dependent on others. Not wishing to waste a single moment, I made a date with her and took her out to lunch. Over lunch and a leisurely conversation, I introduced her to the several ways apps can make life easier for her.
Mother’s Day Idea
Why not try this idea out on Mother’s Day? Take your Mom out for a picnic or a movie-and-meal; sit, chat and regale each other with your childhood stories- the stories she probably likes the best? Give her your undivided attention- and this may mean keeping your own phone on silent- and instead show her what all she can do with hers?
Apps can indeed make life easier
- Online grocery- these are really helpful as she can decide and buy and have everything delivered home.
- Recipe Apps- she is growing old and it will become progressively tougher for her to remember all the recipes and ingredients. You can download apps of her choice of cooking and show her how to navigate through the site. I have one on my mobile that gives me a new salad recipe everyday! Life is so easy, and oh so happily healthy
- Apps to keep track of doctor’s visits- Many hospitals too have apps that keep records of visits, tests etc. Download if her clinic offers an app service
- Apps to book cabs: Remember to add your name and that of other family members, so that you receive intimation when she travels
- Calendar app: Show her how to save birthdays, anniversaries, appointments and reminders so that she is free of the onerous task of remembering petty details
- e-wallets – She will be able to place orders online without being worried about credit card fraud. That would be very helpful for her
- e-reader app- If she loves reading, she will bless you for an app that will bring the library into her hands
There are many, many more. Take your pick as per your mom’s interest.
This will be akin to killing three birds with one stone:
- Make her tech-savvy – Smartphones confuse older generations, with new models offering yet newer features and functionalities. Spend time with your Mom and take her through the new features. Take this opportunity to install mobile security if you already have not.
- Add a zing to her life- you will have the pleasure of knowing you have somewhat helped to make her life more interesting and engaging, now that she has more free time on hand.
- Quality bonding time- The more personal attention you give her, the happier she will be- for that’s all she wants from you, your time.
Being an experienced digital user, you know well that not all apps are genuine or safe. Make it a point to download apps only from a verified source, even if you have to pay for it.
Let me sign off with a cybersafety tip – Activate a password manager, like the trusted TrueKey from McAfee, that will remember her passwords and keep them safe for her.
Tip for you: TrueKey is included in McAfee Total Protection and McAfee LiveSafe. One product can cover several devices and so you can use yours to cover your Mom’s phone too. That way you can renew protection without troubling her with these nitty-gritties.
Happy Mother’s Day to all beautiful moms out there! You ladies are superwomen!