Embracing technology brings new world to seniors


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Seniors can develop their technological skills by using public computers in their local library, such as the Central Brevard Library and Reference Center.

Austin Rushnell

As technology continues to develop, it’s important that today’s seniors keep up with the evolution of modern tech.

There are multiple benefits to learning how to use computers, cell phones and even iPads for seniors. Learning how to deal with today’s technology can improve one’s quality of life and even provide a whole new world of communication.

Some of the benefits of learning how to use technology include: having access to the internet and being able to use it to its fullest extent; communicating with friends and loved ones via social media, such as Facebook; having instant access to news sources via web pages; and even using sites such as Wikipedia to learn more about things that prompt curiosity.

Available options for seniors to learn more about technology include taking classes and getting involved with local groups at the library.

Organizations such as the Wickham Park Senior Center provide local seniors with the necessary tools to navigate online.

“Unfortunately, there is no single answer as to how seniors can better learn about modern technology,” said John Efird of the Wickham Park Senior Center, who ran the Senior Computer Class for about three years. “In almost all cases, I have found that users need to be shown how to accomplish something, then doing it themselves with some individual attention to each student. Often good information on how to use devices can be found by doing a Google search for ‘how do I ...’, or using YouTube for a similar search. Both Google and YouTube can provide answers for nearly any current technological device.”

Efird also recommends that seniors try and work with new skills one piece at a time, so as not to be overwhelmed by too much new information.

“The challenges of teaching technology are many,” Efird explained. “But the real key seems to be (seniors’) interest in accomplishing a specific task, such as connecting with others on Facebook, using email and finding things on the internet.

“Seniors seem to need new information in small bites,” Efird added. “They seem to retain information better if they have some homework to reinforce whatever they have been taught.”

Although the Senior Computer Classes are no longer offered at the Wickham Park Senior Center, Efird recommends a number of other resources that seniors can look into, such as:

Brevard Public Libraries, which might offer technology and computer classes from time to time including classes on computer basics, tablets and phones. For information, call 321-686-1104 or go to brevardfl.gov/PublicLibraries/Computers.

Senior Adventures in Learning, which offers some computer classes throughout the year in Melbourne. For information, call 321-626-0963 or go to sailofmelbourne.org.

Computer Tutor, a business in West Melbourne that offers tutoring for Brevard seniors. For information, call 321-431-3866 or go to computertutor321.com.

Shepherd’s Center-Beachside, which also offers computer classes throughout the year. For information, call 321-610-3937 or go to myshepherdcenter.org.

With these resources at hand, Brevard seniors have the opportunity to develop their skills in managing technology in a world that is growing ever-more technologically dependent.