“Reach out and touch someone…” But wait--is touching forbidden or is it a survival strategy? From conception, to parenthood, to dating and mating, touching is a pleasurable necessity. Physical, verbal and written touching are very personal forms of human communication and social interaction.
Both as an art and a science, touching is not just a sensual experience, but it actually is quite functional. Without exchange of emotion and concept, it would be difficult to successfully bond as a couple, a family, a business, or a basketball team. Good communication and social skills can seduce your sweetie, drive a large profitable going concern, and guide the quality of your remaining years. It seems that when we get older we communicate and socialize less, but the truth is that when we communicate and socialize less, we get older.
We Boomers and seniors must continue, continue, continue to “reach out and touch someone!” Our lives are more fulfilled, goals attained, and sense of value refreshed when we communicate, interact, socialize, and encourage others.
Now here’s where a little dose of passion works wonders. Acting as a kind of a rheostat, passion intensifies our behaviors. When we are passionate about something, we will scamper around finding ways to do it better, do it more often, and live more years doing it. Then those "keep in touch", and "Let's do lunch” moments become great ways to share our passions…all part of what we call healthy aging and living an .
Even with a strong need to communicate and a passion to connect, we still have a "deal killer" challenge ahead. Let's put aside CHW (Can't Hear Well), and CRC (Can't Remember Crap), and MWFT (My Walker has a Flat Tire). What still remains is the annoying T: Technology! Computers, Smart phones and Social Media are here to stay, but many seniors are resistant or afraid to dive in…“I'm too old for that stuff" and "Let me hang out in my comfort zone" are common responses.
While one-on-one communication is best, seniors can’t always get out. Which makes this the exciting part: this very same “annoying” technology also allows immobile seniors, who can’t be there in person to "reach out and touch" with family and friends every day.
And if you are a senior traveler, a smart phone is a great way to provide geo location information, if you are in need of roadside assistance or are looking for the next gas station or motel. On our recent road trip to Washington D.C, Philadelphia and the Jersey Shore found us continually using our smart phones. We mapped our route, found places to eat, looked for tire repair shops and found our way to distant relatives’ homes.
Using the social media technology on our smartphones, we were able to upload daily on-the-spot images of our trip to all our friends and family, and camera images each night from our computers. (Check out our Trip Album to see all the great images we uploaded!) And with a lifestyle that mixes business with pleasure (we work where we play!) we often found ourselves with camera or video in hand and smart phone in the other conducting business.
For seniors willing to tackle their technology challenges, here are some locations in our community offering computer and internet training:
Gwinnett SenioR Learning Center offers basic and advanced computer skills to folks 50 and over, and teaches internet usage and email. Classes are provided at both George Pierce Park Community Center in Suwanee and Bethesda Park Senior Center in Lawrenceville. Check out their website or their GSRLC Facebook page for September class details. They do a good job of helping their students feel comfortable and up to the challenge by using instructors who are also fellow seniors.
Needless to say, we encourage all seniors to embrace technology--after all we want you to read our stories! We also want you to enjoy life to the fullest, which includes a little passion, a little touching and a little technology!
Sheri and Bill