[September 2020 | By Eva Veitch, Region 10 Community Living Services Program Director]
“You’re Never Too Old to Learn Something New”
By Eva Veitch
We have all heard it a thousand times; learning keeps you engaged, staying engaged keeps you young and relevant. In today’s tech world there are a million opportunities to learn new things. I had been thinking about getting an “Alexa” device, but I couldn’t make myself spend the money, so a friend made the purchase for me and gave it to me for my 61st birthday this year. It stayed in the box for over a week; I was afraid I couldn’t figure out how to set it up. Finally, one evening I decided to be brave and see if I could do it all by myself. I did it, and it was easy, and now several weeks later Alexa and I have become friends-kind of.
Learning new things can be somewhat intimidating especially when things like technology are involved. I discovered many years ago that when I become too comfortable, I need to change things up and move out of my comfort zone, learn something new and stretch my boundaries so I can continue to grow. The older I get the harder it is, but I also realize that it is more important than ever if I want to maintain relationships with the younger people in my life. I want to understand what is important to my children and grandchildren and I want to be able to communicate with them. That requires keeping up on technology, so I am on Facebook, Instagram and duo.
COVID-19 has further increased the need to improve our tech skills to stay connected, but it has also improved the number of platforms for staying engaged and opportunities for learning new things. You can “Google” anything to find recipes, fix a sink, download photos or a plethora of things you may want or need to learn about. Long before YouTube was “a thing” I took a sink apart to clean the trap and couldn’t get it back together, so I got on my old desktop computer and asked “Jeeves’ how to put it back together. [Jeeves has since been replaced by Ask.com] Today it is so much easier to watch a You Tube video or podcast. There are even discounts for some learning opportunities like AARP Safe Driver online classes that save you money on car insurance!
Course teaches evidence-based strategies to keep you safe behind the wheel. AND saves you money on auto insurance.
Here are just a few of the things I found in a quick search. Google “Seniors and technology” or whatever topic that needs exploring.
AARP Smart Driver Course. When you take the AARP Smart Driver™ online course, you could be eligible for a multi-year discount on your auto insurance.* Plus safer driving can save you more than just money. The course teaches proven driving techniques to help keep you and your loved ones safe on the road. You’ll also learn about age-related physical changes and how to adjust your driving to compensate.
Stitcher-free podcasts The Spoken Word. Listen anytime, anywhere to over 100,000+ podcasts on your iPhone, Android, tablet, PC, Amazon Echo device or in your car – on demand. Stitcher organizes and delivers the world of spoken audio fresh daily.
OATS (Older Adults Technology Services) Play Video explaining technology and aging.
Senior Planet. Aging With Attitude. Online events hosted by Senior Planet are open to anyone 60 and older. (Fitness and wellness. Technology, and more.) “We’re a distinctive, diverse collection of people aged 60 and older who are busy changing the way we age by embracing opportunities to reshape our lives, connect with and help one another, and change the world for the better —all while learning, growing, and having fun!” Powered by OATS.
Mystrength.com. Hope, Health, and Happiness. From resiliency to well-being, myStrength’s digital behavioral health solutions empower individuals with engaging, clinically-proven resources. Grounded in Science and Uniquely Engaging myStrength combines the broadest range of evidence-based models with the most contemporary user design to offer a unique consumer experience. Highly interactive, individually-tailored applications empower myStrength users to address depression, anxiety, stress, substance use, chronic pain and sleep challenges, while also supporting the physical and spiritual aspects of whole-person health.
GRIT. Greater Resilience Information Toolkit. (UCCS) Resiliency Support Coach Training. As a GRIT Coach, you can help spread support and education to your community members. This free 5-hour training provides information and skills on general and COVID-19 stress, resilience, disaster recovery, skills, support and small interventions to enable a GRIT Coach to educate, support and motivate individuals and communities to be as resilient as they can be in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent challenges.
As we’re trying to keep safe during these difficult times by social distancing, it’s necessary that you, and the seniors in your life, rely on modern methods of #communication. Teach the seniors in your life to try these easy-to-use communication apps, like FaceTime, Facebook Messenger, Zoom, and Skype. Image, SeniorLiving.com
Senior Living. Technology for Seniors and the Elderly. Seniors did not grow up during the era of computers and the internet, yet this age group now depends on this technology. As a result, seniors are learning more and using technologies for the first time. In general, technology is helping to give senior citizens an improved quality of life through increased connectivity and a sense of community.