Things have changed so much since we were born, and they are changing faster all the time. Remember how our parents used to tell us they walked to school, uphill, both ways? We tell our grandchildren that we only had 3 TV channels and they were not on the air 24hours a day. And you had to get up to change the channel! When I learned to write computer code, we used punch cards, which meant if you dropped your card deck, you basically had to start all over.
Now, the government is asking seniors, many of whom don’t have a computer or don’t know how to access the internet, to go online to register for the Covid vaccine. Can you imagine how overwhelming and frightening that can be for someone? I imagine it would be like someone telling me I was going to have to fly a plane or pilot a submarine. I have never been shown how to do that. I have not training. We have to do something to help our older adults, our chronologically gifted adults, be able to access needed services and connect with friends and family.
I asked my guest this week, Dr. Thelma Reese, how some of her peers felt about her ability to use technology like Zoom or the document sharing she did while she was working on her book. She said that many of them don’t want to hear about what she is doing. They are upset with themselves for not having learned to be more comfortable with technology. Rather than being upset with themselves, what if we helped them recognize what they have learned. Microwaves, smart phones, cable TV, credit cards with chips… all of this was new technology once.
There are ways to make it easier. We have to understand what is meaningful to the individual that might encourage them to find the technology useful. We have to understand that not everyone is going to use technology the same way, and that is alright. Each person can decide what they need, what will be of value to them, and that is enough … for them.
I am on a mission of providing an easier way. I want to build bridges that create community for seniors who are isolated and lonely. I want to encourage lifelong learning and opportunities for growth, for those who want it. I want to form virtual villages where seniors develop friendships, connect to family, activities and services, easily and safely.
We are living in a digital world, even more so now, because of the pandemic. I am convinced that we can help seniors find ways to use technology that works for them and with them.