Tucson's older residents becoming tech-savvy - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

Tucson's older residents becoming tech-savvy

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A pocket of Tucson’s older adults are entering the online world and becoming increasingly tech-savvy.

Google and Watermark Retirement Communities teamed up to launch a multi-week long program to teach residents the ins and outs of the internet. It’s called “Engage!”

The Fountains at La Cholla is the first Watermark Retirement Community in the country to test the new program.

Jack Herklotz, IT director for Watermark Retirement Communities, is the mastermind behind Engage! He approached tech-giant Google with the idea to start up “Google For Seniors.”

Multiple times a week, residents ages 76 to 98 get together with Watermark and Google staff, learning about the internet and exploring ways of communicating with family and friends using email and Google Hangouts.

Herklotz noted among the older generation, technology carries a certain stigma.

Herklotz said, “Sometimes they fear the equipment that they're going to break it or they're something is going to malfunction on them. My goal was to teach them that there's nothing to be afraid of and there's so much to gain by learning."

Bernard Greenapple is a resident at Fountains at La Cholla. He’s been engaged with the Engage! program since the start.

With Google Hangouts, he’s been able to video chat with family members, including his own classmates, from all around the world.

Greenapple said, “I’m able to contact the grandchildren, which I was able to do before but they’re all so busy and now they’re willing to at least with Hangouts, to see each other.”

Greenapple said he looks forward to learning even more about what the world of technology has to offer.

The goal is to one day expand the Engage! program to the other 36 Watermark communities across the nation.

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