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Seniors Bridge Digital Divide at Ann's Choice Tech Expo

Residents of the retirement community learned the basics of social media and computer security at the second annual showcase.

Twitter, Facebook, Skype, iPads, Nooksbits, bytes…all just digital buzzwords used by youth, right?

But while app-fixation is associated with younger generations, every group of society, including senior citizens, stand to benefit from advances in technology.  And, there are plenty of resources to help tech savvy-seniors looking to learn.

That’s what the Second Annual Computer Tech Expo at Ann’s Choice showcased Friday afternoon for approximately 250 residents at the active community.

A room full of open-minded and bright-eyed residents came to the expo – all eager to learn what technology has to offer them.  Some residents had little to no computer knowledge, others know how to create their own resident-driven website, and then there were those who actually taught other seniors how to benefit from computers.

All came together under one roof to talk tech and learn how the advances of digital technology can improve their lives.

There were several digital “tech learning stations,” all supervised, taught and facilitated by these seniors, an outside vendor, and even students from . 

Some of these tech learning stations included: 

  • New Computer Users Station
  • How to Facebook and Twitter (taught by Hatboro-Horsham H.S. students)
  • Surfing Through Skype
  • How to use the Nook
  • Using Ancestry.com to find family
  • The Ann’s Choice Resident Website (www.acresidents.org)
  • Going Green through Technology
  • Navigating Google to Optimize Your Searching

“The purpose of this Tech Expo was to give residents a brief ‘hands on’ experience with current technologies, and to point them in the direction of learning and using whatever will be useful and interests them, such as Google and genealogy, e-mail or Skype to connect them with their families,” said Ann’s Choice resident Dick Blackburn, one of the facilitators of the expo.  “All of our residents have access to at least 25 computers where they can play games, send and receive e-mail, scan the Internet, use data bases and applications — depending upon their level of knowledge and expertise.  We want to help them increase that knowledge and skill.”

Ann’s Choice Executive Director Joseph LoCascio said, “More than ever, seniors are utilizing technology for fun, socialization, improved health and staying connected with family and friends.  We wanted to bring as many of these resources together for attendees to learn more about what they already use, or to be exposed to something new like Skype or Facebook.” 

Residents interested in “Going Paperless” signed-up to receive some of their print publications and announcements that are distributed to their “cubby” mailboxes through email instead.

Residents provided their name and email address and will receive a green dot sticker, which they will place on their cubby mailbox.  When publications are distributed by the community, they will not receive the hard copies, but an electronic version will be emailed to the address they provided.

“We wanted to develop an event that will help protect the environment and meet the growing challenge to find creative and substantial ways to reduce the consumption of paper,” Ann’s Choice Director of Resident Life Peter Cataldi said.  “We determined that the best way to proceed is to provide residents with a choice to receive correspondence through the Internet, which illustrates how even a retirement community can do its part to go greener.”

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