Seniors Click With Digital Tech

What’s the best way for folks in the “second half” of life to connect with a grandchild? “Your grandkids are probably never going to answer the card or letter you send them” says John Heide, 61, of Assemblies of God missionary to those over 50, suggests something very young. “But they’ll answer your text message pretty quickly. They connect right back and respond”

But how do you get someone whose high school days occurred when Dwight Eisenhower was in the White House to start texting? Or, for that matter, using a computer or a tablet device? Those who’ve never had exposure to computers can find the devices intimidating, Heide notes.

In May 2011, the U.S Census Bureau said there were 40.2 million Americans over the age of 65, which represents 13 percent of the nation’s population.  If they didn’t use computers during their working years – and many did not – moving into the brave new world of digital technology can be as daunting as it is potentially exciting.

For Assemblies of God congregations, the answer might be a “computers over 50” class, which has the advantage of community outreach as well. “We put an ad in the paper and the phone rang off the wall,” Heide says. People didn’t want to go back to college, but they wanted to learn about computers and how to use them, he added.

Youngsters in the congregation taught the older-than-50  members, Heide says, with instructions cautioned beforehand to be patient with folks. Eventually, once first-time senior computer users discovered how to find old friends, newspaper articles or health information online, it opened up a range of possibilities.

“That’s where churches have an opportunity for reaching out, not only helping their own people but also connecting young people with older ones,” Heide says. “It is an opportunity for interaction.”

Source: Written by Mark A. Kellner, Pentecostal Evangel,

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