Over the years, it has been my observation that most seniors either resist or struggle with the use of new technology. My mother was actually responsible for my first foray into the tech world of cell phones. She worried about me driving my kids to and from sports tournaments and dance competitions late at night. What if I had a flat tire or engine trouble?? So, to put HER mind at ease, she gave me a mobile phone for Christmas one year. It looked something like this. It was about the size of a brick and weighed as much. You could make and receive calls, nothing more. It fit neither a pocket nor a purse, but I dutifully carried it in my car for several years. Eventually the rechargeable battery needed to be replaced and I decided it was too expensive. That phone eventually found its way into a yard sale.
When the new compact cell phones first arrived in stores, I did not rush out to get one, but later with the urging of my kids, I finally joined the 21st century. I initially took some teasing because I carried it in my purse, but did not turn it on. I was afraid the battery would be dead when I needed it. My kids were exasperated with me. “How can we call you, if it’s never on.” Good point! I was definitely a work in progress. I have since used that same line on some of my friends. I still have plenty to learn about the capabilities of my cell phone, but I’ve “come a long way, baby”. However, I am not ready to give up my landline just yet.
Computers are another story entirely. I was basically forced into using them near the end of my teaching career. I spent endless hours over weekends and in the evening in the school library working on the new computerized report cards. It was painfully inconvenient, but I had no choice. My lack of typing skills only exacerbated the situation.
I finally decided to purchase a computer of my own. I was actually so naive that I assumed it would be plug and play. The salesman assured me it was a very straight-forward operation. When I opened the carton, I was overwhelmed by cords and instructions. The terminology made my head spin. Too stubborn to admit I was in over my head, I forged onward following every word of the manual and two days later, I was ready to push the “on” button. I was in utter shock when the screen lit up. Of course, the real challenge was still to come. I now had to learn how to load the programs into my new computer. By the time everything was functional, the instruction book was in tatters.
Well, I am happy to report that two computers and four laptops later, I can find my way around the workings of many computer programs and can’t imagine my life without this amazing technology. I still can’t type, but I learn something new almost every day.
My point here is that technology can be fun. There is nothing to fear. There’s a whole world out there to explore, and this just allows us to do some of that from our own home. It’s an amazing way of staying in touch with both family and friends. I still believe that nothing can replace seeing each other in person and talking face-to-face, but when that is not possible, technology can allow you to stay connected. It was amazing to me that I could pay bills at home while traveling in Tibet.
Of course, some people are a little slower to catch on. One of my friends was recently in Florida. When she returned, she complained that she had texted us, but no one replied. We couldn’t figure out why we had not received her messages. A little further probing revealed the problem. She had texted to a landline. Oops! Well apparently there is still some work to be done, but we have lots of time to work out the kinks.
Thanks for reading,