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‘Baby boomers’ schooled in technology

photoInstructor Andy Livingston helps one of his students by showing her the capabilities of email at a recent class at Purcellville’s Carver Senior Center. Times-Mirror Photo/Andrew Sharbel

While today’s youth are almost experts in all things technology, senior citizens and baby boomers are often left behind when it comes to gadgets and other programs that are popular today.

Purcellville’s Carver Center for seniors is doing something about that with a new 10-week class for adults aged 50 and over called Technology for Baby Boomers.

Lead by Instructor Andy Livingston, an information technology expert with 20 years of experience, students in the class learn the ins-and-outs of a broad range of technologies, including cell phones, smart phones, applications, computers, iTunes, Facebook, Blogs, RSS and other social media and much more. Global Positioning Systems and mapping, as well as other gadgets like iPods, iPads and universal remotes are also covered.

Livingston got started with these classes after pitching the idea to the Vienna Community Center about eight months ago. As a result, Livingston’s communications firm, LAD Communications and Technology, now has almost 20 contracts to teach the course in the D.C. metro area, Charlottesville and in Sarasota and Orlando, Fla.

“I started working with Loudoun County and the Carver Center to work with baby boomers, adults and seniors by teaching them about today’s technology,” Livingston said. “The course has been very well received and is now being offered in 11 counties in the D.C. Metro area with Loudoun being one of them.”

Livingston noted there is a large divide for the older population when it comes to technology.

“The course is meant to bring this segment of the population closer to their family, friends and community using technology on a daily basis,” he said. “There is a great feeling of isolation within this segment of the population, as there is all of this great stuff going on around them, however they don’t know where to find it.
“This course bridges a gap, talking about a variety of topics such as GPS, social media, iTunes, apps, interesting websites to help them save money and find people with common interests.”

Elizabeth Crabtree, a former flight attendant for 33 years and native of California, has been retired for nine years. She has lived in Loudoun County for six years.
After her husband bought her an iPhone and purchasing an iPad, Crabtree needed help learning what all it could do.

“What got me interested in taking this class, is that I do have technology, but I need to learn how to use it and take advantage of it,” Crabtree said. “My husband had just gotten me an iPhone and I already knew certain things, but I needed more.

“There is so much nowadays and being a baby boomer, the kids seem to pick it up like a second language. For us it is a lot of info, but we can use it because it will help our lives,” she said. “I am picking up more applications to use on my iPhone and it is nice to know about it, because it is the future.”

Crabtree also said she didn’t expect to get all the material from the class, but she was really enjoying the experience.

Livingston has set out to bridge the gap between the younger more tech-savvy youth and more distanced older generation.

“In addition to teaching them about social media, GPS and mapping, we also share with them sites they can visit to help them save money and things of that nature,” Livingston said. “We really want to bring them closer to their family and friends as well as help them make new friends with people who have similar likes.

“Essentially, the problem is nobody has time for this segment of the population. Their kids are too busy, their grand kids are too busy and you go into a store they are too busy,” Livingston said. “This class helps to connect the dots and gives them all an opportunity to ask as many questions as they want without an eye roll.”


this is why old farts shouldn’t touch computers or the internet

I don’t really think seniors are left behind - I think they aren’t exposed to the technology that is suited or made for them. If you take the time to find something made on their level and introduce them to it, it’s surprising what can happen - I saw it when my daughter bought my dad a cellphone for his birthday last year. I really didn’t think he would get any use out of it, but I have to say that the basic, senior SVC cellphone she found for him worked prefectly since he had no experience with anything like that before - it took some time to get the numbers programmed for him tho. Now, he actually seems to feel more independent because of it and more interested in techy things beyond his TV.

Andy, What a wonderful thing that you are doing for the older generation.  I know you will do a great job “bridging the gap”.  thank you!  Where do I sign up??  Have fun!  Much success to you.

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