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Free Technology Classes Help Older Adults

Jan 08, 2019 09:19PM ● By Jeanne Fratello

Technology class members hold up their iPhones and their coffees. Photo via Dayle Eisenhauer.

Mom and Dad - or Grandma and Grandpa - probably love that iPad you gave them as a holiday gift. But do they know how to use it? Manhattan Beach has a solution for them, with free weekly technology classes offered through its Older Adults Program.

The popular drop-in classes are offered every Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to noon at the Joslyn Community Center. The topic alternates each week between iPhones and iPads. (Help is available by special appointment for PC and Android questions). 

Instructor Dayle Eisenhauer covers special topics, answers questions, and helps with trouble-shooting. The class typically draws between 15 and 30 people, with an average of about two people who are new to the class each week. "I even have a 92-year-old in my class," notes Eisenhauer.

Each week, Eisenhauer also runs through a quick discussion of online scams and phone scams, to which many older adults are particularly susceptible. (Coincidentally, this week's Doc Talk discussion event features a documentary on scams targeting older adults, a topic that will certainly come up again in the technology classes.)

The Joslyn Center is a technology-friendly place for seniors, adds Eisenhauer. The center features high-speed WiFi, a classroom equipped with a large-screen TV for class demonstrations, and a brand new Mac computer that seniors can come in and use anytime. "The city has done a great job - they're really supportive," she says.

One extra perk: Class members enjoy free coffee provided once per month by The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf at the Manhattan Village Mall. In turn, Eisenhauer has taught her students how to download the Coffee Bean app that they can use to order when they go to the Coffee Bean on their own.

Eisenhauer has also developed a partnership with the Apple Store at the Manhattan Village Mall, occasionally organizing in-store older adult classes in the morning hours before the store is open. "The store can get so busy and crowded and loud," says Eisenhauer. "This is a way to get more seniors comfortable going to the store."

Aside from the regular Thursday classes, the city also has an award-winning multi-generational partnership program that pairs older adults with Mira Costa High School students on Saturday mornings to help with technology issues. That program, which is on holiday hiatus, will start up again in March.

Editor's note: Curious about what Manhattan Beach's Older Adults Program has to offer? You can watch a video here.

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