June 20, 2021 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Helping Seniors Connect with Tech

UCLA student volunteers offering free one-on-one technology coaching for older people in on March 9.

By Staff Writer

Technology and social media can be intimidating for anyone, but especially for older people, many of whom grew up using rotary-dial phones.

On Saturday, March 9, approximately 15 UCLA undergraduates will be volunteering their time to teach seniors how to better utilize their iPhones, iPads, laptops and other mobile devices as part of an initiative developed in conjunction with UCLA Health 50-Plus, a community wellness program based at UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica.   

Each participant is matched with a student for an individual 45-minute session. The students are prepared to answer any technology questions, and will coach participants as they practice their new skills.

“Tech Help for U” events are held several times during the year. Since its inception two years ago, more than 100 seniors have received help. The most common questions the students receive? How to enlarge fonts so devices are easier to read, how to download podcasts, news and music apps and how to better utilize social media sites like Facebook, Pinterest and WhatsApp.

“It’s wonderful that these technologies exist, making it so much easier for people to connect. But older people, who are already more likely to be lonely, may not have the skills needed to utilize benefit from them,” explains Ishara Bailis., LCSW and manager of UCLA Health 50-Plus “Watching them gain knowledge and confidence is rewarding to our student volunteers and those of us involved in this program.

This Saturday’s “Tech Help for U” will take place at the Conference Center at UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica, 1250 16th Street, Santa Monica, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Participants should bring fully-charged devices to get the most out of the sessions. The sessions are free, but appointments are required. Call (800) 516-5323 to register or find out about upcoming dates.

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