It beeped repeatedly. Each click on the display offering up another error message.
Still slightly hesitant when using the computers, seniors tapped on keyboards at The Older Adult Sunshine Center as they replied to Facebook posts, email and the occasional instant message.
“I’m determined,” said Gloria McDowell-Savage. “I’m going to use these new skills to get over the hump.”
McDowell-Savage’s son died in 2013. Her husband died six months ago.
“Because I am alone now, I’m hoping to put a camera in the back and the front of my house,” said McDowell-Savage. “But all that’s done by computer, so I have to learn how to monitor it.”
McDowell-Savage was afraid of the computer at first. To turn it on was a task.
Bill Thompson leads computer classes every Monday and Thursday at the center. Increased member attendance has resulted in a full program. Seniors enroll with different goals in mind, yet Thompson tackles each student’s objectives using one general rule.
“It’s like piano lessons or dancing. It’s easier to learn the latest dance if you know how to dance,” said Thompson. “I make each of my seniors start from the beginning.”
The objective of Thompson’s 10-week computer program is to provide seniors with a new skill set capable of positively influencing their daily lives.
While McDowell-Savage’s husband was in the hospital, she would attend computer classes to learn how to better communicate with loved ones not directly around her. She said her husband always encouraged her not to miss class.
“I’m not wasting time doing nothing,” said McDowell-Savage. “And keeping my brain active takes my mind off of everything going on around me. The classes are therapeutic.”
– Text, images and video by Tonii Mackie