Although Gloria Boyd, 73 and resident of New Hyde Park, has had an iPhone for about four years, she is frustrated because of her limited knowledge of how to use many of the functions and apps. After attending a free program offered by Genser Dubow Genser & Cona (GDGC), an elder law firm based in Melville, along with EAC Network, she was thrilled to learn new skills. Now, she won’t have to rely on her son to help her.
“It was most valuable for me to find out how to scan documents with my phone,” said Boyd. “This knowledge alone will help me with my work at St. Vincent’s de Paul when I have to process extensive paperwork from clients.”
According to the Pew Institute, about 30 percent of adults ages 60 or older do not know how to use technological devices.
To help Long Island seniors overcome their fear of technology and learn more about using an iPhone or iPad, GDGC and EAC Network, a social service agency on LI that helps people in need, recently hosted a free “Senior Tech of LI” program. EAC provided the group with an instructor and a coach. Each participant brought their iPhone and/or iPad for hands-on training.
“Many of our clients are seniors and we see them struggling in many cases with the new technology, including the use of iPhones and iPads,” said Melissa Negrin-Wiener, Esq., partner at GDGC. “That’s why we reached out to EAC, a nonprofit agency that brings technology to seniors.”
Sandy Schneck, retiree who considers himself a tech geek and is now an instructor with EAC, told the class that the Apple technology can be a great tool and do a thousand things but is also dangerous if misused. During the class, he explained how to: send information on a screen by email or printing, use various apps, search via Google and YouTube, take notes, erase emails, access attachments, use the camera, calendar, enter contacts and more.
Even though the participants had different levels of experience, their individual questions were answered by the EAC instructor and coach. Theresa Bedford, 78 and resident of Amityville, has been frustrated by her limited knowledge of the technology. She now owns her fifth iPhone but never knew how to use the camera, reply to emails, use Safari to search the Internet and more until taking this class.
GDGC is planning to offer seniors a complimentary class on android phones and tablets in the fall.
—Submitted by Genser Dubow Genser & Cona