Helping Seniors Navigate Technology

Looking for tech support for residents of GreenFields of Geneva, life enrichment manager Karen Tomko sent out a plea on Facebook. Karen’s friend and neighbor, Tia Duval, quickly offered up her expertise.  Seven months later, Tia continues to go to GreenFields weekly, to share her technological skills and knowledge with the residents.

Tia said that when she saw Karen’s request, “I knew I wanted to help out right away. It sounded like a great opportunity to get involved with the community. I worked at a well-known global law firm for many years in both human resources and information technology. Working in both of these departments has sharpened my problem-solving skills.”

Each week before Tia’s visit, Karen provides her with the list of problems with which the residents are requesting assistance. “This gives her time to research their issues ahead of time so she can come prepared,” Karen said. 

“I help the residents with a wide range of technical problems such as identifying shortcuts to their favorite websites, how to reconnect to WIFI, issues with their printers, etc.,” Tia said.

Karen added, “One resident signs up just because she loves hanging out with Tia.  She’s become friends with many the residents.”

The residents, were more high-tech than Tia had anticipated. “When I first started volunteering, I had no idea what to expect in terms of their technical knowledge. Would I have to start by teaching them the basics?” Tia said. “To my surprise, I found out that most of the residents are computer savvy. They only really need help fine-tuning their devices.”

While Tia finds that providing tech support is fun and engaging, she also recognizes that it’s a critical tool for the residents to have right now. “It is necessary, even essential that the residents connect by using technology, especially during COVID. If the residents of GreenFields don’t take advantage of technology like FaceTime, Zoom, and Skype, they will miss out on communicating with their families, friends, and loved ones,” she said.

 

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