“Even though I’m a senior, it doesn’t mean your brain stops working. I want to keep learning things like technology.” – Pat H.
With the advances of technology, our society has become internet-dependent. Over the course of a senior’s life, technology has progressed tremendously. In the 1980s, the CD-Rom was created for computer storage and sharing music. The World Wide Web was invented in the late 1980s by Tim Berners-Lee, which changed the way governments, business and people operate. In the early 1990s, e-mail started to take off and surpass regular mail. Fast forward to this year, and we have social media, video chat, smart devices and so much more.
Due to the ongoing development of technology, some seniors do not have the knowledge to use modern technology. However, there are organizations and programs that dedicate their time and resources to educate seniors about technology. There are many ways technology is changing the lives of the aging. Some of the ways include social connection which can supplement seniors’ social interactions when visits with friends and family are not possible or common. In addition, it can keep seniors moving through exercise and fitness apps.
Senior Vitality Program is a 12-month technology and health improvement program for 150 Curry clients. Clients use iPads and Fitbits to improve their lives with various educational and health activities.
Pat H. and her dog, Snow, started attending health education classes at Curry a few years ago. After she heard about the Senior Vitality Program, she was interested in participating so that she could learn about technology and health in a class setting. Pat sat down with Wellness Program Manager, Angela Di Martino, to share her feedback about the program and its impact on her life.
Pat had an interest in learning new things, including technology. “Even though I’m a senior, it doesn’t mean your brain stops working. I want to keep learning things like technology.” – Pat. She also expressed that she enjoyed the opportunity to be more social, make new friends and get out the house.
“When you’re by yourself, you might not do anything, and your mind and body can go. You’re not encouraged to do anything.”
She spoke on social isolation and the impact of the program. Social Isolation can negatively affect a senior’s mental and physical health, and increases their risk of mortality. Community-based programs such as Curry’s Senior Center’s Senior Vitality Program are finding innovative ways to use technology to reduce these effects on seniors’ health and well-being. Pat shared that she enjoys her Fitbit which sends her reminders to stay active. “The Fitbit buzzes me – “Let’s Roll! You haven’t moved in an hour!” And, so I’ll start moving. It cheers me on.”
The Senior Vitality Program can be helpful to many other seniors in the Tenderloin and surrounding areas. Pat shared her thoughts on why she believes it is helpful for seniors. She believes it helps her mind and body and keeps her organized with using the calendar on her iPad for appointments and classes. Pat also uses apps on her iPad to borrow books, learn anatomy, FaceTime with her grandson and help with her dog’s and cat’s health and supplies.