I confess I am slow to adopt new technology. Like most people, I hate feeling stupid and nothing frustrates me more than trying to navigate my iphone – a new acquisition for me, having proudly carried a flip phone for over ten years. I have never learned all of the features on this new device, much to my downfall.

If I want to age well, I would be wise to get up to speed on the most current devices and social media opportunities that have come along.  Research shows that staying current contributes to longevity, according to a survey of people turning 100 years old conducted by United Healthcare. Staying connected contributes to longer living as well, and technology is how it happens if family and friends are not in the same household.

According to the University of Southern California, six out of every ten adults aged 65 use the Internet. Seventy percent access the Internet on a daily basis, and 80 percent use social media to interact with friends, relatives and family members.

As stated on the USC Department of Gerontology website “the extent to which individuals older than 65 years old have adapted to new technologies is extraordinary. Seniors have adopted new technologies to such an extent that close to 80 percent in the U.S. feel that lack of access to the Internet is a significant disadvantage. More than nine out of every ten seniors acknowledge that the Web has made it easier for them to search for information, while more than 80 percent of seniors feel the ubiquitous smartphone is a great tool that provides them freedom in their old age”

But a tool is only useful if you know how to use it. If you have a device that you are not sure how to use, Community Thread is offering a Technology Assistance and Support session. Volunteers from Stillwater Area High School will share their knowledge and offer individual instruction on how to use mobile devices such as cell phones, tablets and e-readers (Kindle for example).  

At a session offered last month, Allan Stevens brought his Kindle to make sure he understood how to maximize its speed. As he shared afterwards “it was a wonderful resource to have someone take the time to show me how to clear the memory. I use this device to read books and practice my bridge skills and I don’t like it when it slows down. I enjoy using my Kindle to do things on my own and the technology assistance session was really helpful”.

Attendee Paula Burnett was impressed by what the students offered. “They customized the learning to my needs and were very patient. I learned how to respond to a Facebook notice and now I feel very comfortable keeping up with postings from friends and family”. The next Technology Assistance and Support session will be offered on May 2 at 2:30 pm. There is no cost to attend but donations to Community Thread are always welcome. Call 651-439-7434 to register and remember to bring your mobile device to the session. And save a seat for me.

By: Sally Anderson