Can you imagine having to go next door, as Dorothy Mansfield, age 94, describes in this video, simply to make a phone call? Dorothy explains, “This goes back a long time, when there were no dial phones and where people didn’t have phones in their houses… we used to go next door to use the phone.”
People didn’t have phones in their homes? Had to go next door? To use a phone?
Wowsa! The world has really changed and technology is leading the way. According to a recent Dscout study in NetworkWorld, phone users touch their phone an average of 2,600 times per day! Our phone is so much more than a device to verbally communicate with someone – we text, email, take pictures, listen to music, set appointments, check our daily steps, order dinner, pay for coffee, buy shoes and so much more.
More than 75% of those 50+ years old use a smartphone according to a 2017 Pew Research Center report. And 95% of all Americans have a cellphone. Obviously, Seniors and Boomers see the benefits of using technology.
But change is difficult. Perhaps you’ve been in a workplace or even in your family when something new was introduced and everything changed. It is tough. And many times it takes time. “Individuals tend to move back and forth through the stages, re-cycling through them until the change becomes fully established,” states James Prochaska, Ph.D. in The Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change.
In addition to change being challenging, technology change comes at a very fast pace. Moore’s Law is the theory that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years producing computers, phones and other devices that are smaller, faster and smarter. Moore’s Law is a bit techie for most of us, but it means changing technology is coming at us faster than ever before. Today’s smartphones have the power of yesterday’s supercomputers. All of this technology leads to social change, productivity increases and economic growth.
Aarggg! How can we possibly stay current? Here are some helpful actions:
- Develop a “can do” attitude. You went from a princess landline to a handheld cell, so you CAN DO it.
- Get acquainted with new devices at office supply stores, or brand stores like Microsoft and Apple, or mega-retailers like Best Buy, Nebraska Furniture Mart or Walmart. Arrive when the staff isn’t too busy and ask lots of questions.
- Visit your local library, community college or college library. Most libraries have a “Technology Services” or “Adult Education” department and they are happy to help. Classes are usually offered, so take a class or set up one-on-one tutoring. On a personal note: I took a smart phone class at the library last summer. There were about 15 people in the class – it was hands-on, informal and everyone helped each other. We learned and had fun!
- Use free online resources. Do a web search for helpful how-to computer websites and classes. Good ones include The Senior’s Guide to Computers, TechBoomers.com, SeniorNet.org, Oasisnet.org and AARPTEK.org. Search videos on YouTube by using the Search icon (looks like a magnifying glass) and type in what you want to learn, tap Search and various videos will appear. An example of what you might want to search is, “How to text a picture from my iPhone8?”
- Ask others – peer sharing over coffee is a great place to start. You may be surprised you know things your pals don’t, and they know things you are hoping to learn. Or ask your children or grandchildren, but be prepared for the long sigh and an eye-roll.
“Change your thoughts and you change your world.” ~Norman Vincent Peale
Fantastic55 is committed to changing with the times. Our tech future includes talking to a personal assistant device to order groceries then having them delivered on the doorstep, self-driving cars, virtual and augmented reality (communicating with friends, doctors, etc.), drones for military, commercial and consumer use, artificial intelligence to replace repetitive tasks, house robots for home and people care, high-quality online education, advances in medicine and even smart pills that monitor when you swallow them (as the pill dissolves, it sends a signal and your medicine intake is tracked).
So stay close. We’re your “next door neighbor” and we’ll do our best to help. Let’s tackle technology together and have a fantastic55+ life. We CAN DO this!