Adventures in Cell Phones for Seniors with Grace

By Tracee Zyla

Monday, August 6

When it comes to cell phones, do you love them, hate them, or find yourself somewhere in between? “How many of our seniors here today own a mobile phone?” Special guest (and regular volunteer fresh from Australia!) Steph McNally presented us with “Everything You Wanted to Know About Your Cell Phone but Were Afraid to Ask.”

Steph opened her presentation with PowerPoint slides detailing her own telephone background beginning with a land-line (with the clack-clack-clack rotary dialing system that I found myself feeling nostalgic over), to a bulky walkie-talkie looking mobile phone, leading ultimately to her current smartphone, specifically an iPhone. “I remember if a friend had lots of 8’s or 9’s in their phone number, that was a drag,” she recalled from her early life when using a rotary phone. “And ‘smartphone’…I don’t know if I like that term. As if a flip phone is somehow dumb? A regular cell phone is still an amazing piece of technology. Let’s discuss the differences between both.” Steph reminded our group that the birth of the iPhone took place in none other than San Francisco on January 9, 2007 at the Moscone Center. I think it is fair to say that cell phones (“smart” or otherwise) can intimidate anyone new to them, and that includes our seniors. Imagine the leaps in technology in their lifetimes! For me, it still feels like the Star Trek of my childhood come to life.

Steph also invited seniors in our group to speak from their own experience. Colorful and spirited Brenda accepted the microphone and explained how her senior-tailored cellphone plan from Jitterbug fit her needs very nicely. Big plusses for her included “human customer service” in which a “patient and understanding” representative helps with questions and “you can change your plan based on your needs month to month.”

Another one of our seniors, Kent (who has fabulous long hair I might add), explained how he uses the calendar on his Smartphone to stay socially and politically involved. “I just put the event into my calendar and I get a reminder when it is coming up. That way, I don’t miss anything. If I choose to not go, I simply remove it from my calendar.” True story, Kent motivated me to use my own cell calendar more often. Sometimes, I embrace my personal dinosaur ways, but Kent made a heck of a point that it “only takes 60 seconds to make an entry” so why not just do it?

After concluding our adventures with cell phones, our seniors made their way to the 12:10 Holy Eucharist and then gathered round in the dining room for lunch. Our trusty chefs Arleen and Gail fulfilled a special request from Reverend Canon Nina Pickerrell for a “picnic lunch” of hot dogs and potato salad. We also had another guest volunteer, Julie, helping serve (who had previously volunteered to help with our Bishop’s 50+ Anniversary Evensong back in February), along with Reverend Margaret Deeths dishing out guacamole.

Our day concluded just shy of 2 pm after sharing senior care bags containing groceries and supplies. We welcome our seniors to return every 4th Thursday of the month to share in community with one another and all who join us for the day.

Learn more about Seniors with Grace.

See more photos from our day together.

Connect with Us