My husband is an IT guy. I, on the other hand, hate technology. OK, so “hate” might be a little strong, but it definitely tests my patience on a regular basis. Like the countless times that I’ve hit the TV power button and gotten some crazy error message that requires me to click six more buttons to maybe, just maybe, get a picture and sound. (More often than not, I’ve walked away long before finding the solution!) Or when I’m one tiny question from completing a long, online form and I step away from the computer for two seconds, only to have the site “time out” on me and make me start from scratch. [Insert me pulling out hair and gnashing teeth here!]
I’ve always believed that everyone my age and older probably resented the drain on their time and nerves as much as I did. But recently, I learned otherwise.
After a particularly agonizing episode with my smartphone, I asked my 77-year-old mother, who didn’t touch a computer until she was in her mid-50s, did she ever think her life would be better without computers, smartphones and the like? She responded with an emphatic, “No!” I must admit that hearing her perspective on things has made me view those error messages, remote malfunctions and whirling color wheels with a bit more forbearance.
Communicating more easily.
Texting on her smartphone, my mom can quickly touch base with her siblings, who live in another state, or talk to my sister or me, whether we’re strolling the streets of Jamaica or driving in our cars. No more calling repeatedly until someone picks up the phone! Not to mention, the ease of communication from doctor to doctor, doctor to pharmacy, hospital to doctor, etc. makes her medical care more efficient and effective.
Staying in touch.
Social media allows my mother to reconnect with old friends, even peek in on their lives when she’s not able to visit them. In fact, one of her high school chums uses her classmates’ Facebook pages to dig up photos for the class newsletter. (My sister and I appeared in one of the issues this summer!)
Researching information, finding recipes or just locating the answer to a question that’s been nagging at her used to be something that required libraries, cookbooks or at least a set of those hefty tomes called encyclopedias (remember those?). When my mom wants a new recipe for pork chops, it’s now just a click away on her laptop or iPhone. If she can’t remember the name of a singer, city, type of pasta, she now just asks Siri or Google. Bye, bye, World Book!
Keeping track of car maintenance.
My mom loves the OnStar in her Cadillac to get directions (although I think it’s a little cumbersome compared to Google Maps or Waze), but one definite efficiency offered by this technology is diagnostic reporting on her vehicle. Through an email, she’s reminded when it’s time for an oil change, alerted if a tire is losing air pressure, and more.
Knowing the time.
Even in the middle of the night, she knows the time in an instant, thanks to her high-tech digital clock, which projects the time in large 3” numbers on her bedroom ceiling. She claims that even her dogs use it to know when it’s time for breakfast!