Maybe You Can Teach an Old Dog New Tricks – Seniors Helping Seniors With Technology

There are many things today’s young people can learn from senior citizens.

Folks over 50 years of age have experienced so much in life. Many have learned how to balance budgets and barter for deals. They’ve discovered how to spend wisely and save frugally. They’ve planned for now and are preparing for later.

Most of all, they’ve learned how to focus on what’s important in life and ignore what isn’t.

All this experience can be passed along to high school and college students, if they’re willing to listen. And we’ve seen that many of these younger people could use some guidance in their lives.

It’s All Greek to Us

But there are also things seniors can learn from the generation being called millennials.

Chief among them is how to use technology. It feels like second nature to millennials. But for seniors it often feels like trying to understand and speak another language.

Let’s face it. Many of us who are aging believe we’re technologically impaired. It’s frustrating, but it’s nothing to be ashamed of. We grew up in a different era.

As far as millennials are concerned, the typewriters we used back in the day belong in an antiques museum.

Tech Assistance for Seniors

Fortunately, there are young people out there who understand our technology plight. And some of them are doing something about it.

For example, there’s a new program at Chapman University in Orange, California. It involves college students helping seniors with tech questions by giving complimentary one-on-one help.

A student named Jacob Pace came up with the idea. He started the program at Sea Country Senior Center in Laguna Nigel, California.

“I always tell the other kids, it’s something so easy for you to do that has such a profound effect on seniors,” said the business administration major.

From Texting to Map Apps to FaceTime

Senior citizens often need tech help. From operating their phone to setting up an email account on their computer. They can connect with a Chapman University student for assistance.

The students show seniors how to set up calendars on their devices. As well as how to use map apps for directions.

They also demonstrate how to establish social media accounts. Plus how to text their friends and families, and how to set up alerts on their phones.

Many seniors have also learned how to use FaceTime. That has enabled them to “attend” their grandchildren’s birthday parties. And watch grandkids perform in plays.

This type of assistance has opened up a whole new world for many seniors.

Paid Help Also Available

Are you a senior who needs help operating some of your digital devices? You might want to find out if a complimentary service such as this one is available near you. If not, you might consider a paid service.

A company called GadgetGuide provides such a service. Employees travel to retirement residences to give hands-on lessons in using a wide variety of digital devices.

They teach seniors how to use their smart phones, tablets and computers to stay better connected with the world. And their loved ones.

One of the co-founders came up with the idea while helping her overseas grandparents use FaceTime.

They Even Make House Calls

But you don’t have to reside in a retirement village to benefit from companies such as GadgetGuide.

They also conduct private lessons at the homes of seniors. These one-on-one sessions are focused on the exact issues seniors are having with technology.

In one session involving a Google Earth app, a senior was nearly overcome with emotion. For the first time, he saw an aerial view of the house where he proposed to his late wife many years earlier.

Seniors may feel technologically impaired, but they’re not. They just need the help of tech-savvy young people. Then they could learn what eventually might feel like second nature to them as well.

It Should Be a Two-Way Street

Yes, millennials have much they can learn from seniors. But seniors can learn a lot about how to use technology from these young people.

Who knows? Maybe both sides will benefit from the tech programs designed to keep seniors in touch with today’s digital world.


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