Despite the stereotype that claims that seniors are easily frustrated with technology, they have actually expressed great interest in learning about technology and are eager to become more tech-savvy and stay in the know. To help get residents better acquainted with technology, Presbyterian Village North (PVN) recently hosted an iPad tutorial. During this class, residents learned more than just how to turn on the iPad; they learned how to download and play brain exercises, communicate with family and friends via messaging and social media and edit pictures and videos. These tech tutorials are being offered on an as-needed basis and cover a variety of programs and new devices. This is the third iPad class that PVN has held for residents and is back due to popular demand. During the first class, staff members went over how to send emails, how to take pictures, how to search for and download applications and other basics. During the second class, PVN team members led a tutorial about applications that would help stimulate brain health and increase mental acuity such as Elevate, Lumosity and Unblock Me.
“Residents at Presbyterian Village North love staying active and are always eager to learn new things, especially as it pertains to technology,” said Letty Valdez, event coordinator for PVN. “We design the classes and tutorials so that we can move at a pace that is good for everyone. We have two or three instructors for each class for one-on-one interactions, which ensures that everyone understands and gets the personal assistance they need. This way we can slow down for those that have difficulty with certain aspects of technology, as well as show more advanced tech users additional features that they can use once they’ve mastered the basics. I just love seeing the residents get excited when they have accomplished something new and are applying the knowledge we’ve shared with them. The iPad class has been really successful because technology and mobile devices keep residents engaged with friends and family, expose them to stimulating apps that encourage mental acuity and help them record life’s special events via pictures and video.”
Two or three years ago, PVN began offering Microsoft Office classes. To meet the residents’ changing tech needs, the senior living community decided to focus on iPads, as many of the residents use those or tablets now. The community also gets other organizations involved with technological tutorials. Just last month, North Dallas Bank shared a presentation on online banking. In the future, the community is planning to host a Skype/FaceTime tutorial to show residents how they can communicate with their families and friends via video.
“We offer residents opportunities to get engaged in topics and activities related to technology, current events, brain teasers, fitness, nutrition and cuisine, films, history, Bible studies, book reviews, creative writing and even happy hours,” said Valdez. “Just because we get older does not mean that we lose our curiosity or desire for exposing ourselves to new things. Fellow PVN team members and I listen to what residents are interested in, and technology has been a major topic of interest. Residents wake up every morning and the first thing they do is to sit down with a cup of coffee and look at the PVN calendars to decide amongst everything available to them what they would like to do the most that very day. It is a rewarding feeling knowing that I help make these opportunities available to them.”
Offering these tutorials is timely, as the increase in the number of seniors who use technology is growing exponentially. According to the Pew Research Center, more than half of older adults (defined as those ages 65 or older) are internet users, 77 percent have cell phones and 46 percent use social networking sites such as Facebook. Knowing that these numbers will gradually increase, PVN is designing programs to help residents interact more with technology.
“This summer we have a lot of fun, engaging activities planned for residents,” said Ron Kelly, executive director for Presbyterian Village North. “People come to PVN because they see the fellowship of the community and the abundance of choices available to them in an environment of connectedness. Being involved helps them get the social stimulation they need, and we are happy to serve them by providing boundless opportunities for social engagement and classes that help them better themselves by giving them something to work on or work toward. It is inspiring to see people expanding their understanding of the world around them during retirement.”