Reliance on modern technology has increased to a point that it’s hard to think of a way we would communicate without everyday access. Today’s average user is accustomed to having technology readily available at their fingertips – literally – with smartphones and tablets that respond to a few simple swipes.
Technology is continuing to evolve, and yet the advent of each cycle creates a learning curve with a sharper incline.
How would you best explain a hashtag to a hesitant grandparent? What’s the best way to discuss computer connections with a loved one to have them plugged-in to their personal connections? How would you discuss the benefits of an iPad without coming across as an ‘iKnowitall’?
Making technology available on a cross-generational level – no matter your level of expertise – acted as the inspiration for a documentary that debuted earlier this year, ‘Cyber-Seniors’. A project launched by two sisters, ‘Cyber-Seniors’ began as an introduction to the Internet for their own grandparents, and was consequently extended to impact the lives of seniors across America.
Best Buy teamed up with Kiwanis Care Centre in North Vancouver to relay the goodwill and great intentions behind ‘Cyber-Seniors’, letting those who’ve long been out-of-touch with tech get hands-on with some of the hottest products. This included five Microsoft Surface Tablets, one HP desktop computer, one karaoke machine, one LG Smart TV and sound bar, and one Wii U gaming system.
Working in collaboration with the KCC Intergenerational Club (a local volunteer group organized by students), the students were able to implement the Cyber-Seniors program as a way to facilitate the learning curve and just have fun with technology. Beyond discovering some hidden singing talents and some pretty impressive gaming skills, the technology helped to open new doors of communication.
“The response has been overwhelming,” says Danielle Jang, Best Buy Canada Communications Manager. “We helped one of the residents communicate over Skype with his sister in Australia who he hadn’t seen in over a decade. To see the two of them connect on a face-to-face level – that was an emotional moment. His reaction was priceless.”
Bridging the generational gap in accessible technology doesn’t just allow for connections to be made, but it allows for memories to be cherished. Google Maps – a simple tool that is often taken for granted – created a special moment in having a 101-year-young woman at Kiwanis Care Centre see her childhood home again.
Tatiana Fortin, the student behind the KCC Intergenerational Club, is thrilled that the residents of Kiwanis Care Centre have access to platforms that let them embrace technology.
“The fact that Best Buy offered to help in giving our program all this amazing new technology is just unbelievable,” says Fortin. “The residents we worked with really loved their bingo, bowling, and balloon volleyball – but being able to play games on the computers, or talk over Skype, has really made things particularly fun.”
Watch the video below to see how Kiwanis Care Centre is teaming up with Best Buy technology to enhance the lives of its residents, read about how the program has been received in an article in the Vancouver Sun, and learn more about the ‘Cyber-Seniors’ documentary on their website.