Hawai‘i Herald Columnist
These days almost everything – from your TV to your watch – is “smart,” connected to the internet or the cloud. For some of us who grew up paying for things with cash, when a watch could make phone calls only in comic strips, and for whom clouds are in the sky, the connected world can be daunting.
At AARP, we believe that technology is enabling us to age smarter and better and that no one should be left behind as technology advances. Our approach is two-fold: Encourage the development of technology that empowers us to choose how we live as we age and to make sure everyone can access and understand technology.
Our AgeTech Collaborative (agetechcollaborative.org) helps discover, support and scale ideas to help us as we age. More on this later in the article.
AARP also offers free technology classes for küpuna through its affiliate Senior Planet (seniorplanet.org). AARP Hawai‘i is holding a series of free weekly Senior Planet webinars on Fridays from noon to 1 p.m. starting Friday, Feb. 10 through Friday, March 17. Bring your own lunch and learn how to make the most of streaming and smart TVs during the first session. Other webinars cover wearable technology, Google work tools, cloud storage, e-payment and how to use the online music service Spotify.
To register go to events.aarp.org/HITech and sign up for one or more webinars. You can also go to our website aarp.org/hi or the AARP Hawai‘i Facebook page, search for Upcoming Events to see and register for all of the events AARP is offering.
The class schedule is as follows:
Feb. 10: Live Streaming & Smart TVs
Feb. 17: Wearables and the Internet of Things
Feb. 24: Introduction to the Google Workspace
March 3: Understand Cloud Storage
March 10: Introduction to eBay and Paypal
March 17: Introduction to Spotify
Senior Planet also offers a free Technology Hotline at 888-713-3495 to answer tech questions and to help with the registration and viewing of classes.
These classes provide a taste of how technology is changing aging now. For a glimpse into the future, AARP’s AgeTech Collaborative was at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas working with tech innovators and investors to develop new technology to help us live longer, healthier and more productive lives.
“AARP is involved because many of the challenges faced by the aging population can be assisted or addressed by technological solutions,” said Jackie Boland, AARP Hawai‘i’s Director of Outreach, who attended the CES.
Boland said products supported by AARP include a hearing aid that resembles AirPods that can also monitor your heart rate and transmit the information to doctors; a blind spot and rear-view camera alert system for wheelchairs and scooters; and a scale that also assesses your likelihood of falling and suggests balance and other exercises to prevent falls.
The future of aging is not only bright; it’s smart. Even those of us who grew up with phones connected to cords can learn, participate and benefit from innovation.
Craig Gima is communications director at AARP Hawai‘i. He is an award-winning multimedia communicator with more than 30 years of experience. A Honolulu native, Gima spent nearly 19 years at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser in a variety of reporting, editing and online roles before joining AARP in 2016. Gima graduated cum laude from the University of Southern California.