Vital Mind: Older Learning and Technology

Roslyn Aging Gracefully, Lifestyle Empowerment

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Roslyn
I loved going to work each day for 30 years as a professional career counselor. When I retired, I explored my creativity and regard for crafts until I discovered beading. At age 68 I turned my new found passion- jewelry design, into a business. At age 72 I took on learning about social media marketing and developing my computer skills. I am sharing my journey from inception, to frustration, to elation -in the hope of inspiring others that 'it is not too late to start again'. Welcome to my re-invention!

Comments 44

  1. Roz, I have always admired you and been so impressed with the way you muddle through your techno journey. At your age, it’s absolutely incredible how much you have learned and overcome to be able to progress with your business. Your attitude is so unique and really quite remarkable.

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      Thank you so much, Julie, for your acknowledgement. It is due to my own struggle and determination that this topic resonated with me. I know many older people want to do online businesses and need a lot of technical support. It is out there.

  2. I agree Roslyn, learning is a lifelong thing and should always be encouraged no matter what age you are. Technology has been something that I have seen a lot of older people struggle with and fear. To presume that just because of your age you cannot master something is an easy way out of having to use your learning skills I think. Anyone can learn how to use the current and forthcoming technology by just applying themselves to it with an open and inquiring mind. 🙂

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      Appreciate your comment, Ian Campbell. Learning is different for many people. What you might experience as easy, another finds difficult. It took me almost 1 year to get the knack of copy/paste. Now I laugh at that but in the beginning it just wasn’t easy for me to learn, even though I wanted to. With a lot of support, it has gotten easier and in the process has given me more compassion for those still too afraid to try.

  3. Each generation has its own technological challenges, Roslyn. I remember being great with computers which my late father found a challenge because he retired just before the Foreign Affairs Ministry introduced computer training for its senior officers and as an Ambassador he always had staff to do his typing. 🙂 At the time of retirement, he could use the typewriter to writer his news articles with one finger and I admired him for admitting that he needed to speed up things to put his thoughts on paper and asked me to teach him some computer skills.

    So I taught him how to use the computer and opened up the world of Word and Emails which he mastered within 2 months. He even went on to help design my mother’s first website and had it not been for his demise shortly after, I think he would have taken to blogging like fish to water.

    I see the same generation technology challenges in the differences between my teenage nephew and his mother who needed her son’s help to log in and operate Skype. 🙂

    Learning is a life long activity and if technology is challenging but important for my work, I try to learn it asap.

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      So appreciate adding your experience with your Dad. I suspect it is often with the support of a family member that the senior takes on learning computer technology. Lovely that you all shared in designing your Mom’s website. I am still a 1 finger typist but very fast. It works for me despite trying to master keys on a keyboard or two hands. Thanks again for your heartfelt response to this blog.

  4. I do believe that learning new things enhances our brains even as we grow older. Doing things differently does too such as performing a task with our left hand if we are right handed or vice versa.

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  5. Love that quote. Our bodies do respond to our minds. We are what we think. I definitely want to age gracefully. I wasn’t for a while. Then took control of my own health and now, that is a focus and what I am doing. Thanks for the inspiration.

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      Thanks Karen Grosz and glad this article inspires you. I too recently took on focusing on my health with the goal to age gracefully. I do believe the single most important key will be our attitude toward whatever befalls us as we age.

  6. I love that — “not growing old, just growing.” Yes! We all need to be lifelong learners. I learned how to build websites when I was 60, and if I can learn that…well, I can learn damn near anything.

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      Great point Jackie Harder. I kinda feel the same way. I had to memorize a 9 page presentation at age 60 and after that, I felt I could master anything. Some new tasks were easier than others but attitude and belief in one’s ability plays an important role in life-long learning.

  7. It’s so true that technology has seeped into our lives on such a massive scale. Whether it’s figuring out how to use an app in lieu of discussing more personal topics over dinner or it’s realizing that you don’t recall your friend’s home phone number anymore since it’s programmed into your smartphone, technology is permanently integrated into our lives. The beautiful part is that you’ve embraced life-long learning as part of your journey. I, too, have had that moment laughing at a commercial only to discover that the person the writers are poking fun at is me! But it’s good to be able to laugh at ourselves. I believe that growing old happens when we stop learning and trying new things. (It helps if our bodies stay healthy too!)

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      Thanks, Meghan Monahan for your thoughtful comments. Love your last sentence: “I believe that growing old happens when we stop learning and trying new things. (It helps if our bodies stay healthy too!) I was always open to learning and the body part is a newer focus for me, but I got the importance.

  8. It is lovely to hear how you took on the challenge of technology and went with the flow, Roslyn. I was a technophobe as well until I was going off to write my book and needed a new computer and a new way to communicate with the world. And I can’t express all the amazing things that have happened to me as well, since I took on my Macbook full on. As far as aging and technology, I still believe the older generation has a huge advantage over the younger one when it comes to having a solid foundation in writing and communicating face to face. Technology does have its place, however, for many it is their world and the sad thing about this, is it isolates many people, rather than bringing them together. I think taking on any new challenge as we are getting older is great for our health and for our longevity. As in everything, moderation and balance are still the keys to living a vital and healthy life. Technology can help, although it doesn’t replace good old fashioned human connection. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us, as you are an inspiration of possibility for us all!

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      Thank you Beverley Golden for your thoughts on this subject. One of our goals in creating a series is to stimulate discussion. As in every topic or field, there are pros and cons. I know elderly people who are living alone & unable to get out and socialize. For them, the computer keeps them connected to family, the world. You can travel, visit museums, stay up to date with info. The key is to be in a position to make use of what is available, as needed. And still, attitude toward aging can impact the quality of ones life.

  9. Roslyn. I’m so glad that you overcome your phobia about technology because if you hadn’t I would not have had the pleasure of getting to know you and your business. I love this quote “I no longer feel that I’m growing old, I’m just growing.” Wonderful put, I think that is the true revolution going on right now. People are learning and growing all the time, we are creating new opportunities and we are no longer limited by career choices, age, gender or location. We are limited by ourselves, our limiting beliefs and our motivation.

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      Thank you so much, Heather Cameron, for such a nice statement. I too feel that way as I have met so many facinating, wonderful people who I’ve gotten to know. I know you are dealing with aging parents with serious health issues. Do you see how technology or life-long learning could benefit them?

  10. I love that WSJ quote! Growing older doesn’t mean giving up. Anyone can do anything they set their mind, regardless of age. It’s only when we stop learning that we stagnate and die (mentally, then physically).

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  11. Never ever stop learning! My daughters have both always told me what they really admire me is that no matter how much I seem to know I don’t stop learning & not only that, but that I get excited about it! You never know, what you don’t know.

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  12. An active mind keeps us young and interesting and also stops us obsessing about things we shouldn’t waste energy on. Technology offers us a wonderful tool for new learning experiences. My second parents have always set a great example of continuing their learning journey and it shows in their personalities and youthfulness. I think you are a shining example too Roslyn, taking on the (sometimes) scary techno world as you have.

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      Tamuria, appreciate your thoughts. I agree that technology is really just a tool that we can use to move forward in life. It is not the solution, but available. Thanks for personal compliment. I am surely not alone as evidenced by some comments to this article.

  13. You got that right.. there are still stereotypes.. heck, in my field, moving from Va to Houston, Tx and trying to get a job in the internet marketing field (you know, the one for younger folks) who have a recent 4 year degree (mine was 3-5 years ago, but add on top of that managing a household, many jobs and billions times more experienced) but yet.. couldn’t get a job. Well, luckily, I started my own gig, but me, at my “young” age of 38 ish was too old, so I feel your pain.

    You mentioned that with the advanced technology, we may live longer, but I think parents these day rely too much on those techs and kids these days don’t enjoy family or learn responsibility like I did.. so while we may live longer due to tech, I also think tech is screwing the nation as well.

  14. I face new learning with the fascination/avoidance mindset. I hate the learning curve, but love the results. I remind myself that it is a mindset, and I can change it if I choose. With technology, I really enjoy using it once I learn how. This is a lovely piece, Roslyn, and I’m glad to see this topic out in the open.I see peers getting stuck in the avoidace side, and they never get to enjoy something fascinating and new.

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      Welcome, Jane Gramlich to our blog. We deviated from content related to jewelry to talk about a subject that I have a love/hate affair with. Think I’ll borrow your phrase, fascination/avoidance as it surely fits. No sooner do I feel comfortable, and I discover another platform or tool I need to learn. Most of my peers do not understand why I pursue running an ecommerce business and being involved in social media marketing. There is quite a lot out there on this topic as I discovered doing research for the series on “Aging Gracefully”.

  15. Well I think it is important always to be curious and have an open mind. Looking at my mother she also before retiring never used computers or other apps…then she started getting curious, and now she has a computer, is on skype, recently got a smartphone and communicate on whatsapp…:-))

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  16. Wow! What an inspirational story for everyone especially people in retirement. If only we could share this will the retirees that are NOT on the internet, like some of my relatives. =) I will share with my followers though. Keep up the beautiful work. I love your jewelry pieces. They are so beautiful.

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  17. I definitely think that any type of learning is beneficial, and particularly when you get older. It’s so important not only to keep one’s busy, but also to give a great feeling of accomplishment. You are a true inspiration with what you do online Roz, congrats!

  18. Yes, I agree with you Roslyn about learning how to age gracefully, which I am focused on doing for the rest of my life! As long as I continue to educate myself and use my brain, I hope to be kicking up my heels as I get older……Great share 🙂

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      I have no doubt Joan Harrington that you will be kicking up your heels as long as possible. You have skill with technology and will most likely make good use of it.Glad you liked the post.

  19. Great blog post Roslyn! I enjoyed reading it so much! Aging gracefully by learning a new thing is not easy to do. I admire you that you learnt technology and started your own business at the age of 68. Thank you for sharing your inspiring story and very powerful message!

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      Thank you, Kaz for your comment. We do grow from overcoming obstacles. You did with health issues and are inspiring when you share your journey, and I with technology.

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      Yes, Sharon Cobb, I do know you are an advocate of life-long learning, an example of a woman who takes it on. I did think of you when I wrote the blog, so I’m happy you had a chance to read it.

  20. Roz, you inspire me. 🙂 I am seriously tech-challenged, as you know. The fact that you are willing to grow and use it to your advantage gives me hope that I will someday be able to have a blast online!

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      Ahh Dear Liz Benoit Cozby, I still feel tech-challenged in so many ways. I often remind myself that I came from knowing nothing and now I know something. Just today, I highlighted some words in an email draft and the entire copy disappeared, not to be found in trash or anywhere. About the 4th time this has happened to me. When my IT son comes for Thanksgiving I will address this & thereafter not lose a thing again.

  21. Hi Roz. I don’t have an answer for messages disappearing down a black hole. What I do do, when I remember, is, if I’m typing something important, typing it out in a text note first and then copy and paste. It’s happened to me with Facebook messages at times also.

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      Welcome to our blog and good to see you here. You know a lot about technology Sheila Finkelstein and so you know how to copy/paste from texts or emails on your phone. I just learned the later. Ongoing learning- right?

      1. Roslyn, I was thinking about the computer when I responded. Copying and pasting on phone and tablet, at least they are on iPad/iPhone, is pressing on what you want, dragging lilnes/boxes to full part you wand, selecting copy, then holding finger down where you want to Paste… pressing or tapping until “Paste” choice appears.

        Most of my technology knowledge comes from my passion for discovery and finding answers. Then sharing. When I don’t have an answer I go searching.

        And I am enjoying Keyboard shortcuts on my mobile iDevices. Just did a post today on it. http://technologyforseniorsmadeeasy.com/iphones-for-seniors/keyboard-shortcuts-on-ipad-and-iphone-android-too/

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