Senior Wisdom

As many of my readers know – of course I'm being presumptive that I have "many readers" LOL – I love using analogies when explaining anything technology. For example, I've often used the analogy "streaming is just like broadcasting" where one streams content onto their Smart TV, smartphone, tablet, or computer connected to the internet wirelessly or by wire; one receives broadcasts of TV programming onto their Smart or Dumb TV through the cable TV box, satellite dish, or thin air.

Most of the analogies I use, if not all, I come up with by thinking, "How would I explain 'xyz' to my aging parents?" But "streaming is just like broadcasting," which by the way is beautifully succinct, is borrowed from my oldest alumni of our nonprofit's "Discover Digital Literacy!" program who offered his take on what streaming was; the alumni is also a Westlake resident.

It's humbling to help seniors who seek out our programs. I share what I've learned about thriving in the digital world but I learn from my students too! Many things I learn from my students can simply be chalked up to the grace and wisdom they've nurtured from having lived life a tad longer than I; the average age of our 100+ alumni is 73 for females and 75 for males. 

If you ask my wife, she'll tell you that I take things too seriously. Case in point: In the first pilot program back in 2016, I was rambling on about how to do something in Gmail. After what must have felt like an ill-scripted monologue of a late night show, I started apologizing to the class. Without missing a beat, a senior sitting in the front row said "Tak, we don't remember what you said three minutes ago so don't worry about it!" and the whole class erupted in laughter while most nodding in unison. Laughter, it turns out, was one of the medicines needed to bring down the intimidation barrier of technology.

My students also help confirm life's mysteries. Like the frequently shared phenomenon of family members unable to teach technology to other family members. Here, again, my wife will be quick to chime in that I don't have the patience and empathy I have for the students when I try to help her. Many share similar sentiments. This phenomenon was actually the catalyst of starting a new community outreach program for seniors in 2022 so seniors who have questions on technology can ask yours truly when they have no one else to ask.

This fall, our nonprofit Center for Aging in the Digital World will start celebrating our 7th year of empowering seniors with digital literacy. First year or seventh year, one thing hasn't changed and that is our "unwritten" mission to provide a safe space and tools/skills so no senior is left lonely or isolated. Seniors have lived, served, and shared their wisdom. It is our time to empower them with what we know!

Tak Sato

Strategist and technologist with over 30 years of experience in the private sector. Holds Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Science and Executive MBA from Cleveland State University.

As Founder of the Center for Aging in the Digital World, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit empowering seniors with digital literacy, Tak connects the dots to help people utilize appropriate technology in their personal and professional lives while using digital literacy as a tool for seniors to avoid loneliness and social isolation. Please visit EmpowerSeniors.Org for more information!

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Volume 14, Issue 17, Posted 9:56 AM, 09.07.2022