Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Seniors helping seniors

There are two things in life that are important to me -- one is education and the other is volunteering… I think it's a privilege to be a teacher and I think it's a privilege to be a volunteer, and both of those activities give me a great deal of joy.

- Isabella Dryden (Winnipeg Free Press)

Sometimes it’s intimidating, never mind frustrating, when we have to learn how to do something new from someone who is younger than us.  You’re left wondering why you are unable to master a skill or technique, when it’s clear that it’s doable.  What tends to get “lost in translation” is that this is true for anyone at any age; someone else will always be better at one thing or another, and so on and so forth.  What you have to be able to do is take away from the experience and learn from them.  As a result, this will allow you to share your newly cultivated skill with others.

Isabella Dryden, 94, and Jean Johnson, 92, know what it’s like to have experienced both the learning and teaching role.  Three days a week, the tag-team spends entire days educating other seniors how to operate the computer: from turning it on, to navigating the web. 

Johnson joined Dryden, who has been teaching for almost 50 years, after she sat in on one of her classes 27 years ago. After the second class, Johnson felt she knew the material well enough to assist her.

"Strangely enough when I sat down with the computer, I knew how to work with it. It just must have been in me. After my second class, I was bold enough to go up and ask (Dryden) if I could help her with the classes and she agreed. We've been together teaching ever since," Johnson told the Winnipeg Free Press.

These women have taken on exceptional roles in their community. By giving back, the dynamic duo can help elevate a level of confidence in the seniors that attend their classes, showing them how they can further their independence while exploring a virtual reality.

A little something more:

4 Tips to Keep Seniors Surfing Safely Online  

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