Technology and Seniors? That is the Question!

Seniors and Technology

True or False ~ Senior adults are not using technology nor are they interested in learning it?  False!  This is a common misconception, as seniors are a fast growing group who use new technology. As they realize that the most desired way to communicate with their grown children and grandchildren is through the use of technology, seniors usually go for the smart phone.  “I was happy with my old phone, but now I can text my kids and see photos they want to share with me.  I am much more connected to their busy lives than ever before,” comments a long time resident of Independence Hill Retirement Community.  She continues, “Technology classes offered at Independence Hill have made it possible for me to learn to use email, Facebook and the internet.  I now bank online and can keep in touch with friends across the world very quickly.”  After attending some Facebook classes at Independence Hill, a retired reading and math teacher began to receive a large amount of friend requests from some of her past students.  “What a great compliment to have them want to connect with me,” she exclaims. “We always had fun in class while we learned.  I guess they appreciated that!”

 

While keeping up with their families seems to be the biggest reason seniors begin to dabble in social media, many are also finding new and long-lost friends.  One of the most amazing stories at Independence Village, a 55+ neighborhood of homes in Stone Oak, was of a couple who were high school sweethearts who talked of marrying one day.  They attended separate colleges, he went off to war, the years passed and they lost contact.  Fifty-seven years later, Mrs. Searle saw her long lost love on Classmates.com. This is how they re-united and finally fulfilled their talk of marriage in 2006.  Long time resident, Betty Ann Holmes, made a new friend who lives in Australia in the SeniorNet.com chat room.  They quickly moved from the chat room to private email conversations.  While uncovering a ton of similarities in their lives, they quickly became friends and finally met in Hawaii for a vacation where their friendship flourished.  Although they live a world apart, they have built a friendship that will last forever. Mrs. Holmes has taught computer classes and private lessons to her fellow neighbors at Independence Hill.  She worked diligently with a neighbor and friend who is visually impaired; setting up his computer screen and keyboard with very large text and teaching him several programs which have given him back so many of the freedoms that blindness had taken away.  The “Talking Book” program is a wonderful resource that is available for those who are unable to see, yet want to enjoy a good book.

 

The iPad or Kindle have become the “book of choice” for many seniors, as they want to continue learning, growing and embarking on new experiences.  “My tablet was a Godsend, as the arthritis in my hands made holding a book for long periods quite difficult,” declares Phyllis Wallace, who is not only a resident, but one of Independence Hill’s biggest Facebook users.  For those who love to go to the library, the internet allows them put a book on hold so it is ready when they arrive; not to mention, it reminds them 3 days before it is due back!  Something that several residents also enjoy is Genealogy.  With sites like Ancestry.com, residents have come across relatives they did not know existed and have also been able to uncover many interesting stories. “To be able to trace my maternal family’s arrival to America just 10 years after the Mayflower was very exciting,” shared Dr. Wood.

 

There are many Independence Hill residents who now play games such as Bridge or Words with Friends with family and even people from around the world, as they have discovered that the internet and technology can provide a good bit of fun too.   Ms. Balhorn, has played games with people as far away as Argentina, China, Turkey and Canada, but one day found someone in Helotes whom she realized was someone she actually knew.  The old saying “it’s a small world” is so true, and even more so today with the connections technology provides.

 

Senior adults aren’t joining social media or using new technologies because everyone else is, they are actually getting real benefits from their time online. They are finding new and lost friends, building a support network, managing their healthcare, learning about so many things and most importantly, having fun!  With more companies offering simplified computers and software that’s designed specifically for those who have little to no computer experience, getting started is easier than ever.

 

Call Independence Hill at (210) 305-4768 to enjoy lunch and let us show you around.  Then be sure to check out the Independence Hill website at www.independencehill.com and the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/independencehill to see all the fun everyone is having.  

 

 

Independence Hill Retirement Resort Community is located in Stone Oak at 20450 Huebner Rd., San Antonio, TX 78258.