Now more than ever, seniors do not have to be isolated from their loved ones when they move into a retirement community. As the activities director, I feel it is important to keep the residents in touch with the world around them through current events programs, college professors sharing their knowledge, etc.
One of the other areas of interest is the World Wide Web, aka, the Internet. In my community, we have a wonderful computer club that was started by a resident. He trained more residents so that they could teach others, and the club has grown each year. They have guest speakers (some from our company's own Information Technology department), group meetings, and one-on-one tutoring.
It is a fact that baby boomers and those who came before them are more interested in technology then ever before. Many of them have IPads, IPhones, computers, tablets, e-readers, smartphones, etc. Here is a great article about gadget going grandparents that is right on the mark. I also wrote blog posts about seniors using IPads and one on seniors using e-readers that you might find interesting.
If you do not have a program in your community yet that teaches your residents about technology, now is the time. Here are a few ways that you can facilitate the process:
- Do it yourself. Take it a class at a time.... a subject at a time...... Look on-line or in your local library for more information if you need to. I also have noted some helpful books on another blog post re: computers and seniors.
- YouTube.com can be your assistant.
- See if a resident is willing and able to lead the class(es) for you. Be their support by arranging the time and place for the meetings, advertising it, & get the supplies needed for their success
- Encourage a Technology Club concept like mentioned above
- Ask your Information Technology department for their support. Can they direct you and/or volunteers? Can they teach a class periodically?
- Speak to the area high school technology club and see if the students will come teach. Most likely the students need service hours. Residents may really enjoy the inter-generational interaction with this program.
- Hire a professional company to come in. This might mean a fee to the students in the class
One of the subjects that you could teach would be digital ways to keep grandparents in touch with their friends and families. When most of us hear about grandparents staying in touch, we think of email. That is no longer the case. Here is a terrific article about 5 ways to stay in touch with today's advanced technologies. How wonderful is this, especially for those who may have physical problems that make it difficult for them to type or see well.
Be the facilitator and help a resident learn something new that will surely enhance their life!