How to Help the Seniors Citizens in Your Life Join the DTV Conversion with a Digital Converter Box

The DTV Conversion happened in June 2009. New technology is probably not the strong suit for many of the senior citizens in our lives, so it’s up to us to make sure the seniors in our life are ready.

If you haven’t checked in with your aging parents, start there. If they have one of the analog televisions (with an antenna on the TV or on the roof) you’ll need to get them a digital converter box. Start by giving them the basic information on what this DTV conversion is and why it is needed.

The Installation

Once you have taken care of getting the converter boxes that they need, you’ll most likely need to help them with the installation.

Print this instruction guide that is provided by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission.

Plan on spending some more money for an upgraded antenna to get the new digital signals clearly. There is a great way to test whether your TV will need it, go to and you will be able to enter the address of your senior parent's house. There is a system that can check for the type of antenna that you will need to complete the DTV conversion. Lot's more questions and answers about antennas are available at the same site.

Getting More Help

If you don’t live close enough to your elderly parents to be helpful in this DTV conversion, make arrangements with a neighbor that lives near them, or with a younger relative that loves techie stuff!

You may even make a call to your parent’s church or religious community and find out if this is a service they would be willing to offer seniors in the area. Some churches are already organized to do this. You can find resources from the US Government to organize your congregation or youth group to help seniors in the community in the DTV transition.

Trouble Shooting

Installations can be completed rather easily, but it will be need to be tested.

Then if there are still reception problems, a Trouble Shooting Guide can be used if there are still problems with reception.

You’ll also need to check and make sure that all the old and new equipment works together. For instance, you’ll need to make sure older VCR’s are connected with the new equipment properly. If your parent wants to be able to record one channel while watching another, the VCR will need it's own converter box. Here are some FAQ's that may be helpful from

Help Your Senior Friend Learn to Use This

Now that the DTV conversion equipment is set up and working properly, you may be tempted to head out the door. But your work is not finished yet. Remember the reason you are there in the first place, senior citizens often adapt to new technology very slowly. So, take the time to make sure they know how to work all this new equipment and are comfortable with it!


  • First, talk to them and make a list of all their favorite television programs.

  • Next, use the Program Guide on their television to find the new channels the shows are on.

  • Write down a conversion sheet... as in "Channel 5 is now channel 5.1" etc.

  • Make sure you explain and show them the new options that they did not have before with just analog television. The DTV conversion will not be as smooth if they are still afraid of it.

  • Be patient. Make sure they know there are no stupid questions, and repeat the instructions until they really are comfortable. This may be all new to them to PATIENCE is your responsibilty.

  • Finally, write everything down, don't make them rely on their memory.

    AND if there is a new remote, draw a picture of the buttons and write out the instructions they will need. Be explicit about everything: How to turn it on and off; How to record a show in this new set-up. My folks have had a VCR for years and still can't record a show without referring to my written instructions!

    After all this, you will know that your efforts will be greatly appreciated when your aging parents or senior friends can watch their favorite shows uninterrupted.

    Go to DTV Transition and Senior Citizens

    Go to DTV Transition

    Go to Senior Adult Ministries

    Return to talk early talk often with aging parents Home Page

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