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Seniors And Technology

Staying Connected, Part 3: The Technology Connection

The idea that seniors are technophobes is disproved daily by the popularity of computer classes at senior centers, colleges, and libraries: they’re usually filled — often with grey-haired folks wanting to stay up-to-date on the latest technology, not least so they can stay in touch with their grandchildren.

Some of the resources freed up by a reverse mortgage can go towards purchasing a state-of-the-art computer system that allows grandparents to share videos, to Skype, and to communicate via Facebook and other social media with distant (or even local) family and friends.

Becoming tech-savvy is also one of the best ways for seniors to stay mentally sharp and expand their skill set, as well as stay connected with those they love. It’s a small financial investment that can pay big dividends in connectivity and creativity.

As Gene Cohen, MD, Ph.D., reports in The Creative Age: Awakening Human Potential in the Second Half of Life, Daniel a 79-year-old retired economist, and his wife Grace, a 78-year-old retired grade school teacher, purchased a computer for precisely this reason.

Daniel says, “What are my goals? I want to write memoirs for my children and grandchildren — filled with interesting anecdotes. I just learned how to use a computer to start the process. My wife, who is also approaching eighty, said I wasn’t going to leave her out, and she did the same.”

As a reverse mortgage professional, it pays to find out whether your prospects and clients are technologically proficient, or would like to be. You can encourage this pursuit by beginning to communicate with them via some of the methods described above. Who knows, maybe your clients will even want to make a video describing their positive reverse mortgage experience — or post the same on their Facebook page!



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  1. About 21 years ago, I attended a technological group meeting in Atlanta, GA where several economists looked into the crystal ball and talked about the impact of personal computers on the economy and society as a whole. Their insights have been fairly accurate.

    One thing they stressed was that like the typewriter was in the seventies, personal computing would be to those in less than 25 years. Few could not type in the industrialized world in the 1970s. Yet some in the oldest generation would not learn to type even in the 1970s.

    There is no miracle to the interest in seniors about technology but do not ask them how it works or look to them to provide great insight on programming ideas. For many seniors, it is little more than a multimedia typewriter. There is nothing wrong with that but neither should we be particularly surprised by that either.

    Amara points out the evolution of technology. The oldest of the Boomer generation will drag it to their graves; it is so much of their lives. I should know; I am one of them.

  2. Thanks for this very insightful comment, The_Critic! I love the image of a multimedia typewriter; in fact, that’s how my dad views his word processor — though he refuses to move up to an actual computer, which would enable us to communicate online.

    Technological acceptance is also a function of one’s personality and flexibility, regardless of age, as the couple in the story demonstrate. I have a lifelong friend, now approaching 99, who was a secretary years ago, so of course she knew how to type. Yet she only learned to use a computer at age 90, when her niece brought her one and gave her some tutoring — along with setting up an ISP account — and for the next 5 years, she sent me regular emails! So age is only a barrier to growth if we allow it to be.

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