At the speed technology is advancing, it can be hard to keep up, especially for older citizens who weren’t born into a world with laptops and smartphones. To help them, an initiative by the City of Sacramento called TechConnections is giving participants the chance to gain computer literacy and navigate the ever-expanding cyber world.
TechConnections, launched by the city last year, is geared towards people over 50 years old who want to become more tech-savvy for a variety of reasons. From Facebook to Macbooks, from Windows 8 to Word, there is a class for many basic computer and internet programs.
“TechConnections classes make a difference in people’s lives in many ways,” says Christopher Godsey, volunteer for TechConnections. “I believe that all of the classes offered help to improve technological skills and abilities.”
This program is challenging the idea that older adults have little desire to go online or learn new technologies. The Pew Research Center provides studies that debunk that myth. Their research found that in 2012, 77% of seniors in the US had a cell phone, and over half were using the internet. Of those older internet users, over 70% go online almost every day. Today those numbers are likely higher.
There are, however, real hurdles that older adults face in keeping up with newer and newer technologies. Less than one in five seniors felt like they would be able to learn a new technology on their own, and over half felt like they would need help signing up on a social networking site.
“At 83 years old I found myself losing intellectual language skills,” says TechConnections student Mario Gonzalez. “…The three classes I took with TechConnections have helped me to challenge my language skills and to discipline myself in a way that made my life more interesting and satisfying in my daily activities.”
One class offered by the program addresses this issue by educating participants on the use of networks like Facebook and Twitter, focusing on things like privacy, finding friends, and creating timelines. Classes also offered include internet use, Microsoft Word and Excel, and Apple’s Macintosh operating system.
“I feel I am a stranger in this world where most of the people around and in everyday life, talk about computer use,” says, Sundus Al Rubaye. “So I decided that late is better than never and I began to look for a place where I can benefit, and here I am…”
Sacramento seniors who don’t want to be left behind in the Computer Age are encouraged to check out the city’s TechConnections program and sign up for a class or two. It’s never too late to learn.
Featured image from Flickr under Creative Commons.