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For Dallas Seniors, Lessons Can Take Fear Factor Out of Laptops and Cellphones

DMN

Becoming a senior doesn’t mean spending the rest of your life on the proverbial porch swing. Most want to stay connected to the world, and today’s technology offers that advantage.

Three area seniors have found that taking technology classes has helped them in innumerable ways, particularly to stay closer to family, succeed in their jobs and maximize their mobile phone use for travel and entertainment. Better yet, the Dallas-Fort Worth area offers a wealth of classes at local senior centers, libraries, community colleges, assisted living facilities and organizations serving seniors such as the Senior Source and AARP.

Maybe making a TikTok video isn’t on the bucket list — yet — but knowing how to text with friends, Zoom with family or have a telemedicine visit with a doctor are excellent skills for all ages. Here’s how these Dallas-Fort Worth seniors are conquering unfamiliar territory and making technology work for them.

A roadside epiphany

Annie Roberson, 75, was driving down Harry Hines Boulevard one day and saw a sign for the Senior Source, Dallas’ nonprofit organization offering a variety of services to area seniors (theseniorsource.org). “I turned the car around and went inside. I found out they offered technology classes. I signed up and brought a couple of friends to join me.”

“I wasn’t prepared for this [new] technology, but at the same time I don’t want to be left behind. I want to learn,” she says. Roberson has lived in her West Dallas neighborhood for nearly two decades and works part time as the community liaison at the Disciple City Church in Dallas.

The first two classes she took focused on basic tech safety, avoiding scams and computer basics. Next on her list: learning Excel to help keep track of bills, becoming proficient in PowerPoint and conquering Publisher so she can design a personal newsletter for family and friends.

Roberson says she used to have a Dell computer but recently switched to a Mac. “It really helps to practice,” she says. She also upgraded to an iPhone, which she is learning to use thanks to her 43-year-old daughter who suggested that she get one.

“During the pandemic, it was handy to have Zoom technology,” Roberson says. It not only kept her connected to family but was helpful for her Bible study group of 10 women. “It was especially great for folks who had mobility issues,” she says.

The Senior Source also helped with her Zoom skills, including looking good on video. “We learned that the best light for a Zoom session was natural light,” she says.

Roberson used her computer skills recently to help celebrate her brother’s 80th birthday on Zoom. Her niece connected family members from Louisiana and Texas.

“Technology brings us together,” she says. “If you are willing to learn, you are halfway there.

 

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