Staying In Touch

Summer 2002 CSANews Issue 43  |  Posted date : Apr 06, 2007.Back to list

"Of course you can do it," I told my mother who, at age 82, was very doubtful that the computer would become her friend. Every year, my husband and I travel to join the many snowbirds in the sunny south for the winter. Although I look forward to this respite every year, I worry about leaving my live-in parents. Both are healthy and mobile, however, the Canadian winter can be a lonely and depressing time for seniors.

I decided that there was no reason my mother could not be one of the multitude of other seniors joining the computer age. At first she was hesitant, stating emphatically that she had very little formal education and that she had trouble turning on the VCR, never mind using a complicated gadget such as a computer. Each day, I encouraged her to come and watch while I retrieved my e-mail, and sent greeting cards and family news to friends and relatives.

One morning, as she watched a picture of the grandchildren appear on the computer screen, she expressed a sincere interest in how that could be possible. With a little encouragement, I convinced her to sit at the computer and just turn it on. With step one under her belt and seeing that she had not destroyed this electronic marvel, she wanted to learn more. Gradually, we progressed from turning the computer on, to clicking on the Internet icon, entering our screen name and password and, finally, arriving at the ultimate e-mail destination. Within a week she was opening e-mail, had her own e-mail account and was learning the ins and outs of receiving and sending messages. Naturally there were some problems and little mistakes, but the joy on her face and the determination showed that she was not going to fail.

The winter of 2001-2002 was a great pleasure for me because each morning, I received a little note or a funny greeting card from my mother. Jokes, stories and family news all travelled the miles by e-mail and we were no longer separated.

At 83, my mother is now completely confident in her ability to learn new things and has gained greater self-esteem. We would encourage anyone to take a course or get together with a family member or friend and learn to use this electronic marvel, e-mail. You will never be far from those you love.