I like this post, Technology Moving Too Fast for a Girl Born in 1950, over at the Life in My Sixties blog. The author aptly captures many of the feelings and expectations about the fast-paced, always-changing world of technology. Our feelings magnify when our adult children casually take digital life for granted and our elder parents benefit from many new gadgets and digital services.
Lots of people are happy just keeping the old familiar gadgets that we know and love — for as long as possible. Others, myself included, thrill to new things, although sometimes we have difficulty making decisions because we can choose from so many new devices and opportunities. For us the issue is not what things we want, but more how much money we have to spend and time we have to learn. Did I mention it’s also about learning?
According to a wonderful article, Digital Natives-Digital Immigrants, written by Marc Prensky way back in 2001, we boomers are digital immigrants, living in a world that is extraordinarily different from the one we were born into. Even though it’s 12 years old, the article identifies a situation that we all recognize as it contrasts the lives of younger people who have lived with technology throughout their entire lives (digital natives) with their parents and grandparents who have adopted technology along the way (but who remember the non-technological “olden days.”)
Of course, those of us who are a part of the digital immigrant generation span a wide continuum of tech skill.
Whether or not you help a parent get started writing on an iPad, when you encourage writing activities you often get the opportunity to read wonderful stories like the memory below. I had never heard about this event before Dad composed his short essay. Dad writes on his iPad at least every other day and sometimes more often. What makes it especially lovely for me is that I can picture the playground and the old parsonage because I also played there in the snow many years later.
Washington’s Birthday Long Ago — My Dad’s Memory
I suppose I can begin a story with “In the Old Days.”
One Washington’s Birthday, we had a record snowstorm in Belleville, New Jersey, and trudging one’s way to the church’s playground, adjacent to the Parsonage, required boots. I had them on and ear muffs too. So did my friends Nickie, and Benny, and Mario.
We rolled up huge balls of snow on our Church playground and were in the process of building a snow man six feet high when Cal turned up. Cal was a grown up and a painter by trade. He was well-known at the church for anything that needed a coat of paint, but he also had drawing skills and entertained us many times with interesting sketches of the characters of the Bible – David for example, John for another, and the popularized head of Christ. We were all impressed by his skill.
Out came Cal, and he began to reshape the mounting pile of snow. We caught on immediately. He was shaping a bust of George Washington — eyes, nose, cheeks, neck, shoulders, and even that strange tri-cornered cap. The finished masterpiece attracted a number of persons who chanced the chill and watched from behind the fence that enclosed the playground. We all marvelled — it looked just like a picture book Washington.
Yet another friend has skin cancer. She always used sun blocking lotions, but also enjoyed staying out in the sun for long periods. (I have her permission to write this much.)
Check out the post about a new mobile skin-check app at the Health and Medical News and Resources blog. The app, developed by the University of Michigan (UM) Medical School and UM Health System, helps people monitor skin spots that may be cancerous. The post explains how the new app works — basically it walks users through a full-body skin check, especially the using device’s camera, to help a person monitor and screen skin spots. Also, check out the other skin cancer links at the post.
Watch This Introductory Video from the University of Michigan Read more »
In another of the excellent surveys from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, data show that more than 50 percent of older adults, 65 and over, use the Internet or e-mail. The survey was conducted via telephone interviews during the month of April 2012.
This survey is significant because the older adult age group had experienced almost no digital access growth during the last few years. Now that’s changed.
Ownership of cell phones has also increased in the over 65 demographic group. Sixth-nine percent of older adults in the survey not using a mobile phone.
Are you helping to maintain and secure a computer for your aging parent? Do you find yourself spending lots and lots of time explaining why NOT to click on a button or an update screen, even when windows seem to swoop in and personally invite a user to click (or worse download)? Here is an explanation that just may help an aging senior understand, concretely, what’s going on.
Brian Krebs, over at the blog Krebs on Security, has posted 3 Basic Rules for Online Security. From his perspective, and I agree, just about everything can be distilled into the three broad guidelines listed below (or head on over to his post to read more detailed explanations). Remind family members to keep these three things in mind, day in and day out. when they are using computers.
- If you didn’t go looking for it, don’t install it
- If you installed it, update it (magazines, anti-virus programs, etc.)
- If you no longer need it, remove it.
The other day, at a pre-Mother’s Day weekend event, I sat in a room with hundreds of seniors — mothers, grandmothers, dads, grandfathers — and guess what? A good many of them had smartphones.
I was amused to observe, that a fair number of people in that large room were texting or at least checking their smartphones for various reasons during the event — something I’ve not seen in a large senior gathering until now — although many of their children and grandchildren do it routinely.
I observed that many of the seniors worked hard to check their phones discretely, much more so than their children and grandchildren.
For me this is one of those sentinel moments that highlights the transforming 21st Century digital world. Our world is changing, it’s increasingly connected, and everyone, even some of our older moms and dads, is learning how to use a digital gadget.
I expect that many of these seniors use their phones to keep in touch with family and friends and a fair number of them were taking pictures. I’ll also posit that some of them have health apps that they consult on a regular basis.
Check out the Aging Online blog for some interesting statistics on seniors and smartphone use.
The article Computer Activities, Physical Exercise, Aging, and Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Population-Based Study (PDF) reports on an ongoing population study that randomly sampled 926 individuals in Olmsted, Minnesota between the ages of 70 and 93 (abstract). The article is freely available at the Mayo clinic Proceedings site.
Participants were judged to be free from mild cognitive impairment (MCI) by a medical examination and expert consensus panel. This CBS Interactive HealthPop blog post describes more about the research. Individuals who participated in this part of the larger study of normal aging competed questionnaires about the frequency and intensity of exercise and frequency of computer activities. Individuals were also asked about caloric intake.
According to the article, the data indicate an association between increased frequency of computer use and lower mild cognitive impairment. A similar association was observed between increased frequency of exercise and lower mild cognitive impairment. Individuals who indicated both moderate computer use and moderate exercise appeared to have an additive interaction, lowering their odds of mild cognitive impairment even further.
In the article the authors point out that: Read more »