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Boomers embrace technology to stay in touch with family

Staying in touch with family.

That’s a key reason, according to administrators of a survey released this week, that many baby boomers stay abreast of the digital age.

“We’ve found they want to communicate with their kids and grandkids and find that technology is the best way to do that,” said Steve Leber, CEO of the New York City-based American Grandparents Association that revealed the survey’s findings on its content site, Grandparents.com.

“In many cases, grandkids teach their grandparents how to use devices so it becomes a family moment,” Leber added. “The stereotype of older people not using technology is fading away.”

More than 70 percent had active Facebook profiles, with another 30 percent checking Pinterest regularly.

Social networking sites such as Facebook enable families spread throughout the country to stay up on what family members are doing through text, photographs and video, noted Ellen Breslau, an editor of Grandparents.com.

“It’s a way to stay close,” she said.

More than 95 percent of the nearly 4,000 people surveyed regularly used email, with nearly 90 percent regularly engaged in internet searches.

“The majority of older adults are shopping and searching for things online,” Leber said.

About two-thirds of the survey’s respondents owned a smartphone, a large change from 10 years ago when land lines and flip phones were still in vogue.

“Grandparents use smartphones to stay up to date on everything from current events and the stock market,” Leber said.

Though significant majorities of those surveyed regularly used digital technologies, “understanding technology” ranked No. 1 when it came to what respondents said they needed help with.

Leber pointed out that many phone and computer companies, including Apple, hold training sessions in stores.

Some computers on the market, such as the Telikin, are ready to go right out of the box. By simply touching the menu option of choice with your finger, you can get instant access to the web, email, video chat, news and more.

In Las Vegas, adult computer classes are offered by several organizations, including: Las Vegas-Clark County Library District; Las Vegas Urban League; New Horizons Computer Learning Centers of Las Vegas; UNLV Continuing Education; and College of Southern Nevada Community &Personal Enrishment.

“By being connected, grandparents live fuller lives,” Leber said.

Paul Harasim’s column runs Sunday, Tuesday and Friday in the Nevada section and Thursday in the Life section. Contact him at pharasim@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5273. Follow @paulharasim on Twitter.

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