Aging Well in the Gorge April 13th 2020

We’re in a technological revolution from Smartphones to Roomba robot vacuum cleaners. But for us who have not grown up with all the advances in technology, it can be daunting. (My pocket calculator in high school was a slide rule.)

First, there’s all the unfamiliar terminology: touchpad, mouse, router, browsers, phishing. And then there are the different computer operating systems: Apple, Google, and Microsoft. And once you understand one thing, it is “improved” - and you must relearn it - again!

Because it’s so overwhelming many of you have decided not to dive in. But you have friends who are enjoying the swim and now you might want to learn more about how to purchase a computer; how to use Zoom to see and talk with your grandchildren; or how to protect your personal information so you can bank online safely.

But where do you begin?

To assist older adults in utilizing the benefits of technology and avoid the dangers, GOBHI’s Older Adult Behavioral Health Initiative is partnering with Senior Planet powered by Older Adults Technology Services (OATS) from AARP to offer innovative classes designed for adults 60 and over. The lectures and courses will be led by trained instructors and held at the Mid-Columbia Senior Center.

The classes will begin with a series of five weekly lectures on Thursdays from 2:00 – 3:15: “Smartphones” on April 14th; “How to Choose a New Computer” on April 21st; “Protecting Your Personal Information Online” on April 28th; “All Things Zoom” on May 5th; and “How to Spot Fake News” on May 12th

The weekly lectures will be followed by a five-week Chromebook Essentials course from 2:00 – 3:15 on Tuesdays and Thursdays starting Tuesday, May 17th.

This course will cover the essentials of how to use a Chromebook - a popular type of laptop that is great for beginners who just want to use the internet. (Thanks to Google in The Dalles for donating ten Chromebooks for the class.) If you’re interested in any of the lectures or the Chromebook Essentials course call (541) 296-4788 or email Britta Willson at bwillson@gobhi.org

If you can’t attend the classes, you can go online to the Senior Planet website to register for many of their virtual classes. And for technology questions, Senior Planet offers a Tech Hotline at 888-713-3495 between 6am and 2pm.

By using the Internet and other technologies we can change the way we age. We can connect with friends, participate in art and movement classes, attend public meetings, and advocate for causes important to us. So dive on in. Just make sure you avoid the rocks!

This week’s brain tease is more of a brain challenge. When I swim laps, which I enjoy but can be reaaaaally boring, I play this mental game you can try anytime, anywhere. I start by memorizing the seven days of the week in alphabetical order, then the first ten digits in alphabetical order, and finally the twelve months of the year. I’m proud to say I can recite them all alphabetically - but unfortunately only when I’m swimming!

The name of the police drama that aired on NBC from 1968 through 1975 and followed Los Angeles Police Department officers Pete Malloy and Jim Reed was Adam-12. I received correct answers from Rhonda Spies, Jess Birge, Rose Schulz, Lana Tepfer, Keith Clymer, and the winner of a quilt raffle ticket Gary Van Orman who in 1972 was an actor in an episode of Adam-12. And last week I missed Susan Ronning and Joyce Jennings.

This game of physical skill was a national phenomenon in the late 60s. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of "the game that ties you up in knots" played on a large plastic mat spread on the ground with six rows of large colored circles with a spinner telling you where to place your hand or foot? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, call 541-296-4788, or send it with the May 3, 1966 episode of the Tonight Show when actress Eva Gabor played the game with Johnny Carson.

Well, it’s been another week, asking, “Now what?”. Until we meet again, as I tell my kids, there is a reason we have two ears and only one mouth.

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.” Rabindranath Tagore 

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