Personal computers and mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) are the communications and smarthome hubs that will connect seniors to the world around them.
At Senior Care Corner®, we urge family caregivers to encourage and assist senior loved ones in obtaining and using these devices and the others they will help maintain their independent lives in safety, health, and comfort.
When those devices are working, that is.
Computers, smartphones, and tablets — whether they belong to our senior loved ones, our children, or ourselves — don’t always work as they should, though.
Devices that aren’t working right can be a challenge for any of us, but often more so for those who are new to the devices, maybe even to technology in general.
Family Caregiver Tech Support
As family caregivers, we often find ourselves called upon to provide “tech support” for loved ones whose devices aren’t working properly, or at least not the way expected.
Some issues can be addressed over the phone but often, it seems, a phone call won’t do it and a visit is required. That may be inconvenient if you live nearby, but that’s part of being a family caregiver.
If there is distance separating them, though, a device problem is a prescription for frustration for both seniors and family caregivers.
Even worse than the distance we cross to fix something, though, is the concern our senior loved ones won’t reach out to us, instead putting the device in a drawer where it won’t do them any good.
We have been looking for an answer and found one that works for us and, we hope, will work for you as well.
TeamViewer for Personal Tech Support
(Note: This review is based on use of the same free TeamViewer software available to others and, other than downloading the software from their website, we have not had contact with the company or been compensated in any way.)
Some research and a recommendation from a trusted IT professional led us to give TeamViewer a try.
TeamViewer is software that allows users — with appropriate permissions — to remotely operate other devices on which the software resides. Family caregivers can use this remote operation to provide tech support to senior loved ones’ devices without having hands on those devices.
TeamViewer software, we learned, is used by a number of large companies and IT firms to provide tech support to users. While they pay for the right to use the software, TeamViewer is “completely free for personal use.”
What is personal use? According to the TeamView site, “personal use is limited to computers and devices that are not being used for business or other commercial tasks.”
Why do they offer it free? They indicate one of the reasons is the positive word-of-mouth recommendations that come from personal users. I guess this article falls into that category.
The first step is to download and install TeamViewer on the devices that will use it, including the devices used to provide support and the ones being supported.
- For personal computers it can be downloaded from their website, which automatically detects the computer’s operating system and provides the correct version.
- For mobile devices, the app can be installed from the App Store and Google Play.
There is a straightforward setup process for each device. When installing it on your loved one’s device(s) to be supported, be sure to write down the ID and password for their device, as these will be needed when providing support.
When support is needed, ensure the device to be supported is turned on and connected to the internet, then simply launch TeamViewer on your device and enter the ID of the device needing support. Once in, you have remote control of the other device, as if you are sitting in front of it.
Rest up to You
Keep in mind that TeamView only puts you in position to address whatever issues exist on the device you’re supporting – – it’s up to you to actually fix what’s wrong.
TeamView sure makes it more convenient, though.
When you are controlling a device remotely, it will be known by anyone looking at that device. That’s not an issue, of course, since we would not advocate accessing your senior loved one’s device without their invitation to do so.
One thing we have found, though, is that it gets confusing when both the remote and local users are attempting to control a device, which can happen when the local user is trying to demonstrate what’s wrong. We resolved these coordination issues by talking on the phone at the same time.
We have found TeamViewer to be very valuable in providing remote tech support and can wholeheartedly recommend it to other family caregivers.
Free is, of course, an attractive price. After using the software several times, though, we would gladly pay for it – – but please don’t tell the folks at TeamViewer!