As Zoom has become the go-to platform for staying connected, its use has grown in popularity since the coronavirus pandemic shutdowns. But, for many older adults, adapting to the use of video conferencing technology has been a challenge.
To bridge this gap, East Ridge at Cutler Bay, a life plan community, has partnered with Tech Tutor, USA to help residents embrace Zoom which can be used for everything from chatting with family and friends to educational opportunities.
“We quickly realized many of our residents were hesitant to use Zoom,” said Mary Scott Russell, Director of Community Relations. “The coronavirus pandemic shutdown meant many of our regularly scheduled committee meetings and clubs could no longer meet. Zoom would be a perfect alternative. While most of our residents are computer literate, using Zoom was intimidating.”
A partnership with Tech Tutor USA was a perfect solution. East Ridge offers complimentary monthly “Zoominars.” Initially geared to residents, the sessions grew in popularity and are now offered to those considering a move to East Ridge as well as the broader community as a public service.
“Seniors are saying they want to do Zoom but simply don’t know where to start,” explained Richard Erschik, founder of Tech Tutor USA. “There’s a huge group that know they don’t know.”
According to Russell, when residents embrace Zoom, it’s another way for them to stay connected with their neighbors and continue contributing as community volunteers within East Ridge. It also gives them the confidence to Zoom with their families.
Tech Tutor USA is founded on the philosophy that seniors teaching seniors is the ‘secret sauce’ to what the company does. While adult children and grandkids can show and tell their parents and grandparents how to use their iPads and iPhones, they don’t have the patience to teach them. That’s Erschik’s specialty. He makes learning fun and isn’t frustrated by his audiences’ many questions. He understands their trepidation.
In his previous career as a trade show exhibitor’s educator and trainer, he embraced the iPhone when it was introduced in 2007. While he saw his peers passed by in the personal communication technology revolution, he was comfortable using an iPhone and iPad. When they would ask him questions, he realized as a senior himself, there was a teaching opportunity. He founded Tech Tutor USA to provide an introduction to technology and educate a growing niche demographic of baby boomers and older adults.
Before coronavirus, Erschik held seminars at many senior living communities where he could teach iPhone and iPad basics – from taking pictures to downloading apps – but the pandemic meant no non-essential visitors were allowed at communities. He needed to rethink his learning approach and embraced Zoom for instructional tutoring.
“Zoom video chatting for instructional tutoring means we’re able to reach senior living communities across the globe and not be limited by personal visits,” he explained. “It’s the easiest and least expensive of any platform to use. “
Erschik recently has been virtually teaching Zoom to seniors in South Africa.
“We always start a class with a basic overview, whether it’s Zoom or the using iPhones and iPads. People are at different levels of experience and understanding and our learning sessions begin with the on/off button,” he added.
The next Zoominar will be on Thursday, August 27 at 3:00 p.m. To attend an upcoming East Ridge Zoominar, please call Mary Scott Russell, Director of Community Relations 786-732-8505.