Cybersecurity, Telehealth, Virtual Reality…Oh My!

More seniors are going digital, with help from nonprofit San Diego Oasis.

On Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019, more than 1,000 adults ages 50 and over are expected to attend the “Get Connected: Technology Fair for 50+” at Grossmont Center. It’s never too late to integrate technology into your life, no matter what age you are. “Get Connected” is the largest tech fair for older adults in the region.

People age 50+ are among the fastest growing segments of society on social media and using technology. Seniors are more digitally connected than ever, and are spending more time in front of their screens than a decade ago. Smart home devices and apps will allow older adults to remain independent longer and reduce isolation. But if they don’t have access to training and are encouraged to use technology regularly, users get frustrated and unmotivated.

Events like the Tech Fair are designed to spark confidence in seniors to adapt more digital tools to stay connected and use the technology in their pocket in ways they didn’t even imagine. San Diego Oasis is a new model for the senior center of the future, working to change the perception of aging, and supporting the County of San Diego’s plan for an “Aging Roadmap.”

Whether you are a tech newbie or have the skills, there will be Tech Talks and demonstrations at the Tech Fair to engage people at any level and to continue learning since devices and operating systems evolve. Topics include Voice & Smart Home Tech; Transportation — Scooters, Lyft, Uber; How to Outsmart Personal Info Thieves, Digital Wallets, and much more. There will be an “Ask the Experts” area, featuring one-on-one sessions to get answers to your pressing tech questions.

San Diego Oasis also hosts technology classes throughout the year. These are quite popular and are often sold out. These classes make an incredible difference in the lives of older adults, like Norma.

Norma said she left her job as a labor and delivery nurse at age 72 because the technology required for her job was “too much.” But she didn’t let that stop her. About three years ago, she began going to San Diego Oasis and took the leap to take tech classes. She was a total newbie, never had an iPhone and had no idea how it worked. Today, at age 78, she knows how to take photos, track her calendar, and she video chats with her daughter who lives in Italy every morning. She is still working as a labor and delivery educator too. She says that technology is now just like second nature, and is no longer anxious about learning something new.

Access to technology can aid in minimizing social isolation among seniors. One study says that prolonged isolation are equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Another says isolation contributes to a higher risk of high blood pressure, obesity, anxiety, cognitive decline, and even death. Events like “Get Connected: Technology Fair for 50+” spark confidence in seniors to adapt more digital tools to help them stay connected and use the technology in their pocket in ways they haven’t even imagined.

For more information on the 2019 “Get Connected: Technology Fair for 50+” hosted by San Diego Oasis and supported by County of San Diego Aging & Independent Services. Admission is free but advance registration is required. Call 619-881-6262 or visit the San Diego Oasis website for more information and to register.

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