My Auntie Sandy is an important woman in my life. She is kind, compassionate, caring and has a heart of gold and I love her very much. She cooks, sews, paints, reads, does crossword puzzles and plays Scrabble and Words with Friends.
Her new skill is reading a bedtime story to her 5-year-old great-granddaughter every night at 8:00 p.m. She is doing this through FaceTime, a videoconferencing program.
What makes this story so remarkable is that my Auntie Sandy is 98-years-old. Yes, 98.
Her family began teaching her technology about 20 years ago. If you’re doing the math here, you’ll calculate that she was in her 70’s when she started to learn digital literacy skills.
She is an active Facebook user, checking on her 5 children, 14 grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren, and 3 great-great grandchildren. And then there’s her many nieces and nephews, their children and grandchildren, friends and other family members. She visits Facebook pretty much every day, and comments on pictures that are posted, family news, and other events.
My aunt is fortunate to live with her daughter and son-in-law and is not alone. She is adhering to the stay-at-home order due to Covid-19. Her family calls her all the time, and now that she can FaceTime, she can “visit” whenever she would like. It doesn’t replace the constant stream of company she usually gets at home, but videoconferencing is a way for her family to “see” that she is okay, and for her to fill her days with these alternative “visits”.
Like many of you, I’m worried about my loved ones and friends old and young. I’m really worried about our older adults that live alone.
The National Digital Equity is now offering Tablets with HotSpots to any Maine resident 70-years-old or older who do not have an internet connection or a Tablet/Laptop/Computer to help them “connect” with family and friends.
There is a limited supply, so please reach out soon, if interested.
The Tablets are capable of email, surfing the web, connecting to e-books, and videoconferencing. The tablets are free of charge for the first three months. Our instructors are ready to help you learn how to use the tablet and work with you and your family to connect, as well as learn new computer skills.
If my Auntie Sandy, at 98-years-old, can navigate being online, I have all the confidence, hope and faith that we can help others get online too.