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The aging survey 2013: Technology is a big hit with Grandma and Grandpa

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Courtesy Lisa Suhay

(Read caption) Lisa Suhay's mother, a retired fashion designer, sketches a sculpture in Norvolk, Va., in 2010.

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While technology adds to a senior’s quality of life by connecting them with family and friends, too many can’t afford or understand it, according to a new survey of the perspectives of the aging in America.

The survey, conducted by the National Council on Aging (NCOA), UnitedHealthcare, and USA TODAY, reached out to 4,000 US seniors age 60 and older to examine how the country can better prepare for a booming senior population.

“When asked what’s most important to maintaining a high quality of life in their senior years, staying connected to friends and family was the top choice of 4 in 10 seniors, ahead of having financial means (30%),” according to the NCOA.

My mother, age 82, who is reading this online, is going to agree with that assessment right after she checks Facebook to watch the video of her grandson Ian, 18, rescuing our cat from a tree at midnight last night.

A raccoon attacked her, she jetted upwards and could not get down – the cat, not my mom. My mom would have gotten online to look up raccoon repellants.

While the survey found that seniors today are comfortable using technology, they do say “a lack of understanding and cost” are obstacles for them to widely adopt technology.

Hence, I am my mom’s IT person on call 24/7.

“I’m taking a writing class but everyone’s complaining at me about the formatting of my stories,” my mom said in the umpteenth call about formatting this month. “Why don’t all computers just have the same word processor? It would make life so much easier!”

While my mind reeled at the prospect of explaining tech wars to mom, it was better to have her healthy and aggravated than isolated, weepy, and depressed because the technology wasn’t in her life at all.


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