At 92, my Mom’s hearing was declining and it was very difficult for her to have a telephone conversation with any of her 4 children or 6 grandchildren scattered across the country. Luckily, technology offers many alternatives, and learning to use email for the first time was a saving grace in keeping those lines of communication open and flowing. She learned to type at a young age, having been a secretary after high school, so she had a leg up when it came to learning to email. With computer and keyboard in hand, I traveled across the country, set up her very first computer, gave her a few lessons, and documented every step to leave behind as an instruction manual. I also set up a free program where I could remotely log into her computer screen if she got stuck and needed help after I went home.
This is just one of many stories we hear about seniors learning technology for the first time later in life. What can seem daunting and downright frightening at first can turn into a new routine with amazing results. Looking forward to seeing new emails in your computer inbox can be energizing and purposeful – something to look forward to each day. Composing emails – just short sentences or many long paragraphs – gives a new meaning to the word “conversation.” You may find that you are even more in touch with family members than you have been by phone just because of the convenience of emailing at any time of the day. While you wouldn’t dream of calling your daughter at 4:00 in the morning, you might wake up and not be able to get back to sleep. It could be the perfect time to compose an email to her and she will be so delighted to read it when she wakes up.
With so many people on email, this may also be a great opportunity for you to look up some old friends from high school, college, the military, or workplace and reconnect with them. Won’t they be surprised when they see your name in their inbox! Here at Sterling Court, an internet connection is available in each apartment (carrier fees apply) but even more exciting, we are just weeks away from providing Wi-Fi (wireless service, pronounced as if rhyming the words Why and Fy) throughout the entire complex. This means that if you are using email wirelessly on your smartphone or on a laptop computer, you could compose the email while sitting outside in our beautiful courtyard, the library, or the lobby. You would not have to be in your
apartment, although you will be able to use Wi-Fi in your apartment as well. We will announce more details about Wi-Fi very soon.
Many of you are already successfully using email to stay in touch with family and friends. If you would like to improve your skills, or learn how to set up an email account for the first time, we offer computer classes every Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and can help you get started or answer your questions. Technology need not be overwhelming. If you embrace the idea, you may find a whole new way to “talk” to people all over the country and, for that matter, all over the world!
Read this article and more in our October newsletter.
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