Older adults and technology don’t exactly go hand in hand – or do they? According to Jacqueline Rich, NCS Information Technology Educator, it’s a common misconception that seniors are afraid to use technology.
Rich, who teaches technology courses at the county’s 14 Senior Centers, recently discussed her thoughts with host Jim Person on Fairfax 50+, the county’s podcast series for residents 50 and over. “It’s really exciting to see how the seniors embrace technology and are always looking forward to what’s coming next,” she said.
Rich explained that very few older adults are intimidated by technology nowadays. In fact, since many seniors have their own devices – according to the Pew Research Center, 79 percent of adults ages 50-64 now own smartphones – the nature of the classes she teaches has changed.
“When I first started two years ago, they were very dedicated classes on specific topics,” Rich said. “But because more people have their own devices, the classes have gone to one-on-one drop-in sessions, where they can bring in the device they have and ask their questions.”
Rich’s technology classes are tailored to meet the needs and interests expressed by the community. According to Rich, the most requested topics include online security, digital photography, photo storage and creating videos. In addition to technology education, Senior Centers offer computer labs staffed by volunteers.