GoodLife in Concord celebrates 10 years with an open house (technology included)

By David Brooks, Monitor Staff

When it comes to senior citizens and technology, the problem isn’t really that things are too complicated. The problem is that they won’t stand still.

“Technology is an issue with a lot of seniors – it changes so quickly,” said Lori Mckinney, program manager for GoodLife Programs and Activities, which has provided services for people over the age of 50 at the Smokestack Center in Concord for 10 years.

After all, some of GoodLife’s participants were in their 30s when America Online brought the internet to the attention of the general public, so it’s not as if computers are a foreign concept to them. But learning and then discarding how to cope with technical change after technical change can get exhausting – all those tips you mastered to operate Windows 95 or the VCR are useless now – and assistance might be required to keep up.

“There’s always a need for talks about cellphones, tablets, the internet, emails, posting photos on social media, whatever it might be,” said Mckinney.

The most recent example was last Tuesday, when Breezline, the telephone/internet company, held a seminar on email basics.  They followed it up with one at a Rochester community center, in partnership with the non-profit Cyber-Seniors, an organization that provides training and digital mentoring.

Mckinney said the pandemic showed the most technologically reluctant of seniors the value of being online, making such assistance even more important.

“We had some folks that for a long time didn’t want anything to do with any of that stuff. But especially during and after COVID they realized it’s a way to keep in touch with family and friends … and to do things,” she said.  “It’s another tool that we can use to help engage people.”

GoodLife will be celebrating its years of helping with an open house on Wednesday from 3 to 5 p.m. at its offices at 254 N. State St. More than 150 people have registered for the free event. 

GoodLife evolved from the closing of the Centennial Home for the Aged, what is now the Centennial Hotel, in the 1990s. It became the Centennial Senior Center but changed to GoodLife when it moved to the Smokestack Center 10 years ago.

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