Old dogs teaching themselves new tricks

We live in a time surround by technology. If you’re reading this you’re on a computer and probably have a phone in your pocket. This was easy for you to access, it only took me 30 seconds to post, and it took you a couple mouse clicks to get to this web page. You’ve most likely grown up with technology in your home, and find it easy to use and adapt to new tech trends. But what if you grew up in a time that didn’t have any modern technological conveniences?

For seniors technology was not a customary sight in their homes when they were kids. They didn’t start getting introduced to things like a telephone until they were in their teens. So how are they adapting to these fast developing products that are inundating the market?SENIORS 2

“We didn’t have any electricity until I was in grade 11,” Said Marilyn Nickerson, “we didn’t even have a telephone. We had to go up the road to the neighbors to make a telephone call.” She didn’t get that phone her telephone until she was out of the house and married.

Nickerson grew up in the 1940’s. She can remember when they got their electric washing machine, which meant her mother didn’t have to heat up water and use the washboard.

Things have changed she’s upgraded from a land line phone to a cellphone, and she even has a computer.

“I do use the internet, I get emails. I can only do a few things, I’m quite illiterate when it comes to that computer, but I can do email, and I can get on Facebook even though I don’t do much on it,” said Nickerson.

Even though she would prefer to use her land line phone to keep in contact with her friends and family, social media has helped her keep in touch with a friend she’s had for 62 years.

“I started writing to my pen pal in Australia in 1955, and we’ve been corresponding ever since. We were both in Girl Guides, and we needed to have a pen pal in order to get a certain badge. I requested one from Australia and she requested one from Canada,” said Nickerson

The only contact with her pen pal was through snail mail, which would take a month to get there, and another month to receive a letter. With the help of social media, their messages are instantaneous.

Seniors are learning to adapt to new tech trends slowly, but what are they purchasing for themselves?

“They essentially buy everything that anyone else would buy, their main focus is just on ease of use, and less on high end video quality or high end audio quality,” said Malcolm Angus, an employee at Cox Electronics in Fredericton.

He said that most seniors are trending toward Apple products because they are easy to use. Also Apple products are popular with younger people, so seniors can get help from the family. Unique application to Apple like Facetime and iMessage, help seniors stay in direct contact with their loved ones.

Smart phones are becoming a big thing in the world of seniors.
Smart phones are becoming a big thing in the world of seniors.

When it comes to cell phones most seniors are brought in to the store by their children.

“Generally when we have a first time cellular buyer in the store, it’s almost always because their daughter or son would feel more comfortable with them having a phone to make emergency calls in their car or out and about,” Said Angus, “but I think no matter what your age group is cell phones have become an absolutely integral part of society.”

For retired Grade 5 teacher, Stephanie Bishop, she was forced to use computers because of the way report cards were changing.

“Some of the teachers started doing report cards on computer and they were having to go back to the school if they didn’t have a certain program at home, and often it wasn’t working. So I was one that said “I’m writing out my report cards, when they buy me a computer, I’ll do them on the computer”. Well guess what… 2 years before I retired, they bought me a computer,” Said Bishop. But she admitted that it was easier to do the report cards on the computer.

Stephanie Bishop showing me her iPad.
Stephanie Bishop showing me her iPad.

Now her iPad is her main source of computing. She uses it from everything from googling information, using facetime to contact her grandchildren, and for social media.

Bishop is part of a Fredericton based organization that helps Syrian refugee families adapt to Canada. Because of this she was forced to get a Facebook account

“I have no other friends on here,” said Bishop.

She is only using the account to interact with the members of the group and the refugees themselves. She said it helps her find out when events are going to be happening.