In a building for older residents of Lower Manhattan, Sterling Lord, 99, is using his lockdown time to start a new literary agency. Like agents everywhere, he said he was about to seal a “huge television deal” for one of his authors. He could not talk about it yet, he said.
Further uptown, Janet Wasserman, 85, a historian, is using the time to research an article on the infamous Dutch forger Han van Meegeren, a model for Patricia Highsmith’s character Tom Ripley. “With the internet,” she said, “everything I need is all there.”
from ‘I Like It, Actually’: Why So Many Older People Thrive in Lockdown by John Leland New York Times, April 24, 2020
Reading this article resonated with me because I am beginning to realize that at heart I am an introvert. Staying at home has not been a burden. I wondered if I was some kind of weirdo (-: so I decided to take a poll among my BoomerTECH Adventures colleagues and friends. Sure, folks miss seeing family and friends in person and laugh about going to the grocery store in HazMat suits, but they are problem solving using their digital devices to keep life as normal as possible. Imagine being 99 and opening a brand new start-up. Way to go Sterling Lord!
So let’s skip the jokes that suggest Boomer and Seniors are digital illiterates and explore real-time positive examples of digital warriors!
Who do you know that is not using some app or another to video conference? Kids are using them to go to school, folks are working from home via video conferencing, and family and friends are keeping in touch. Video conferencing fatigue is becoming a new syndrome. Two favorite apps among Boomers and Seniors appear to be FaceTime and Zoom. We at BoomerTECH Adventures have blog posts and videos explaining them:
FaceTime has become the kitchen table to help grand-kids with their homework or the comfy couch to share a wonderful book together. Sometimes it is the virtual dining room table where families share a pizza night or a Seder dinner. I receive random messages with stickers from little friends, and BoomerTECH Adventures colleague Ed is in continual contact with his 6 year old granddaughter via their iPads. Sometimes grammas just hang out while the grandchildren are playing legos, being an appreciative audience for a well built lego project.
Families have certainly discovered the Zoom app. It has brought distant relatives to family reunions and helped extended, close families celebrate holidays together even though they have to be apart. The elders of the family who now live in supported living environments are spared the feeling of isolation during the lock-down period, a real boon to their emotional and physical health.
My BoomerTECH Adventures colleagues Chris, Ed, and I now Zoom almost everyday because this app allows us to share our screens and work collaboratively. We’ve tried to do this on other apps in the past, but Zoom has been really slick. We have begun holding public Zoom meetings to answer questions from folks about their Apple digital devices. Participants have come from all over the country–Florida to Arizona to Maine. It’s been a real kick! Ways to find out when our Zoom meetings occur: check out and “Like “our Facebook page so you don’t miss any announcements or sign up for our newsletter.
My pooch, Sammy, often joins our meetings.
BoomerTECH Adventures guide, Chris, is a man of many interests and talents. Besides being a real-life registered Maine Guide, he sits on a variety of boards and committees. On any given day he may be zooming with his committee planning their 50th high school reunion or problem-solving with a board on how to continue an innovative summer program for teens that usually takes place on college campuses. Headphones on and laptop at the ready, Chris stays actively involved with his many commitments.
Many religious groups are zooming to bring their congregations services and activities designed to keep their faith community vibrant and active. In the image above, Ed is monitoring his church’s Sunday service. He makes sure no zoom bombers sneak in and disrupt the service while, at the same time, problem solving any other issues that may arise. A multi-tasker is Ed. His church has also held a Trivia Night via Zoom. I bet that was fun!
New skills she is mastering include moving from face-to-face interviews to conducting them via a video conferencing app like Zoom and then editing them digitally. While working with teens through Operation Breaking Stereotypes, she meets with students working on projects in breakout rooms via Zoom.
Our digital Boomer and Senior warriors refuse to drop their commitments to their families or communities. These digital warriors span the globe working hard, joining many others, to help maintain some sort of normalcy during these trying times. They are learning new digital skills and sharpening up familiar ones. We all have a role to play, and we at BoomerTECH Adventures applaud these efforts whether they are in our own backyard or half way across the world.
Well…never give a retired language arts teacher a platform because she might just go on and on. I am only a fourth of the way through my outline for this post. Perhaps I need to stop for today and come back tomorrow. In fact, I think I will be back for the next couple of days. In the meantime, stay safe & healthy. See you tomorrow with more tales of the ways BoomerTECH Adventures folks and friends continue to expand our digital skills.