Very often residents request help with the devices or software which are already obsolete.
Obsolescence nowadays can happen in only a matter of months.
For example, much has been moving to the Internet cloud. New devices are dependent upon the cloud and software has been rapidly moving there
Meanwhile many seniors have just learned of something which is already obsolete and are unaware of what is really new. What is worse, the old way maybe fraught with learning problems and other shortcomings.
Frequently doing it the old way takes a lot more time than the new way and the results are disappointing. It may be hard to convince seniors that what was new just six months ago is now primitive. This happens when it was hard to learn the old way, which is now comfy. People are sometimes afraid they may fail.
The result is that to be helpful it is necessary to explain the shortcomings of the older technology and the benefits of the newer.
Consequently, it takes more time to move ahead than earlier. It may require some new learning, both for the resident and the teacher. What helps move things along though is younger visitors, children or grandchildren, who come in with the new technology and sometimes leave it with their elders.
So keeping up is an ongoing and constant effort, if just to avoid teaching residents how to use old technology which has been the abandoned not too long ago and which requires too much time and effort to learn.
To keep up I use Google Reader to sift through dozens of publications for information on new technologies and tools to do things in better ways. One major source of information is Lifehacker, and there are many others which are checked for me everyday.
Then I need to evaluate them and learn to use them, first as a guinea pig before exposing others to them. I usually need to look at all options. Then I can offer the best tool to do the job once we have clearly defined what that job is and recognized that there will be also a better way coming.
Whatever you learn today, whatever device you buy, these will become obsolete soon and it will be a lot easier and less time consuming to use.