This I have learned

Mary Jo Bellner Swartzberg

Have you noticed lately that just about everyone who has a communication device is looking (rather, staring) at it? I am not referring to Millennials or to those who are coming behind them; I am referring to the retirees who live in this community.

Would you ever imagine, back in 1970, that today you would be connected to an electronic contraption that is about the size of a large Hershey chocolate candy bar and that messages, photos and videos would be transmitted to you continually throughout the day? Further, could you ever imagine that it would be hard to put this contraption aside for a few hours, let alone a few days or weeks? And, of course, with communications such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram we are even more prone to stay connected to our devices. Communication in our world today is constant and it is in nanosecond timing. What a world we live in!

That being said, here are some statistics that may surprise you:

According to the Pew Research Center “…while adoption (regarding communication devices) rates among seniors continue to trail those of the overall population, the share of adults ages 65 and up who own smartphones has risen 24 percentage points (from 18% to 42%) since 2013. Today, roughly half of older adults who own cell phones have some type of Smartphone; in 2013, that share was just 23%.”

There isn’t a day that goes by when one of my friends in SaddleBrooke shows me photos or videos of their children or grandchildren from their Smartphone. In addition, many of my friends here, and back in Ohio, do either FaceTime or Skype with their children and grandchildren. It is just amazing that this technology exists in order to keep in touch and to see, in real time, your loved ones. It is the ultimate, live, love letter.

In addition, according to Pew Research, “34% of Americans ages 65 and up say they use social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter – and this number is growing steadily in the senior population.”

From a personal perspective I think it is just fantastic that seniors are keeping up with the ever-changing technology. After all, the Baby Boomer generation has been witness to an incredible amount of technological advances in our lifetime. And, we have rolled with the punches along the way, including having to learn how to use the first generation of computers in the workplace.

Looking ahead the new technologies will continue to lead us all to so many unknown places. And, as Oh the Places You Go by Dr. Suess illustrates, seniors will continue to find their way amongst the technologies of this world:

“You have brains in your head.

You have feet in your shoes.

You can steer yourself

any direction you choose.

You’re on your own. And you know what you know.

And YOU are the guy (ed: or gal) who’ll decide where to go.”

This I have learned…