Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal
It’s a generational thing.
Seniors didn’t grow up with the plethora of modern-day technology that most younger people approach as second nature, said Jill Beets, spokeswoman for Adelante, a local nonprofit that supports people with disabilities, seniors and the disadvantaged.
The pandemic underscored the need for all people to be technology-literate enough so they could order groceries online, have video meetings with health care providers, access medical reports through secure website portals, sign up for vaccinations, or even have video chats with their children, friends or work colleagues on their smartphones or computers.
On Friday, the city’s Department of Senior Affairs and Adelante’s DiverseIT program are sponsoring the first 50+ Senior Tech Connect event at the North Domingo Baca Multigenerational Center, 7521 Carmel NE, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
The technology fair is geared for seniors, but is free and open to any member of the public seeking to acquire basic knowledge about to how to access various services by navigating the internet and using some of the more common devices.
Seniors will be able to roam from display to display, and learn how to download and use apps on their smartphone or computer, how to discern what is factual on the internet, how to avoid scams, how to unsubscribe from email lists, and more.
They will also learn about new hearing aid technology that allows people to download apps to their phones to control their hearing aid settings in different ambient noise environments, or to hear cellphone conversations through their hearing aid.
Technology can make life easier for seniors and the tech fair is intended “to provide a welcoming environment where they will be free to ask questions and where they are shown exactly how to do things,” Beets said. “Our goal is to make sure that people aren’t digital victims and that they become successful users of technology.”
New Mexico AARP State Director Joseph P. Sanchez said “we have seen firsthand the transformative benefits older adults experience when they are able to meaningfully engage online.”
Being able to navigate technology and use the internet “provides a higher quality of life and helps overcome social isolation by providing connection in ways we could not have imagined just a few years ago,” he said.
The 50+ Senior Tech Connect event is one part of digital literacy education conducted by the Department of Senior Affairs and DiverseIT for the benefit of seniors. There are also a series of how-to videos available through YouTube, a free tech hotline at 505-503-4636, free computer classes at local senior and multigenerational centers, and a computer tablet loan program available to senior center members.