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Technology is Our Best Frenemy

Musings Samantha-borges-EeS69TTPQ18-unsplashOne notable side effect of the coronavirus pandemic for Boomers has been our increased use of technology as a direct result of the increase in isolation. I've witnessed this in my own life as well as hearing about similar experiences from family and friends. I consider myself someone who keeps up pretty well with technology, but in the past several months, I've used technology in new ways, including:

  • Organizing Zoom calls with family members who are scattered across the country
  • Taking an online class at my local OLLI college for seniors, also via Zoom
  • Attending music concerts online
  • Ordering groceries online through an app for home delivery
  • Making extensive use of self-checkout when I was ready to go into a grocery store
  • Ordering takeout food online from local restaurants
  • Using "Apple Pay" to avoid swiping a credit card
  • Having my first telehealth session with a physician
  • Joining in a Zoom discussion with other seniors from around the country about the pros and cons of telehealth.

On the positive side, if you have a decent Internet connection and a trustworthy digital device, remote interconnectivity can literally be a lifesaver. When you can't travel to visit your kids or grandkids in person, you can at least have a conversation, see them smile and hear them laugh. When you don't want to linger in grocery aisles, you can get someone else to do the shopping for you (at a higher price). When you fear attending meetings, taking classes, or even going to work, it's comforting to know there is a reasonable alternative. For example, I thought the senior class I took online was excellent, and I'm looking forward to taking courses again in the Fall.

On the other hand, technology isn't always intuitive, nor is it foolproof. The audiovisual quality can vary, technology glitches can occur and some experiences are less than satisfactory. I learned, for instance, that it takes a lot longer to add things to a digital grocery cart than I realized -- and if the shopper assigned to your order can't find an item you want, you have to be available to quickly pick an alternative. Now that's pressure! I also found out that telehealth wasn't all I had hoped it would be: My doctor's appointment was delayed for 45 minutes because previous patients were having problems connecting with or using the telehealth platform. While it was great not having to drive to the doctor's office and be exposed to others in the waiting room, I still had to wait!

This pandemic has made me realize how lucky we are to have technology that can help us do things without the risk of physical, personal contact -- and how unlucky we are that we must sacrifice the physical, personal contact to which we had become accustomed. I guess that's why I consider technology a Boomer's best "frenemy." is a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog.

Photo by Samantha Borges on Unsplash

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