Jan 20, 2014

Seniors and the wonders of the internet...finding out it's not magic yet!

My husband pointed out Bob Lowry's article about getting his wife's Affordable Care Act insurance policy with the government this morning. Healthcare.gov: Betty's Experience is the name of the article.

Many senior citizens are not a knowledgeable as Lowry is about the internet so when they are faced with this insurance dilemma, I can imaging that many will just give up. They will get frustrated because for them the online world is somewhat of a magic place where stuff gets done and no one actually knows how. Evidently, you must have access to a computer to sign up for the plan and there really are people that don't have one. Even if they do, they don't realize that the online world is NOT MAGIC!

Seniors and online stuff and magic...
Before Christmas a neighbor came to me with a question about his email account. Simple huh? Most of the people I know don't understand how it all works but somehow it does anyway. Well most of the time. In this particular case my friend had subscribed to an online newsletter and then could not locate his copies only to find them in his trash file. It seems that he did not have the correct address for the publisher in his email account. It was easy to fix. I explained that when he subscribes to something like this the simplest thing to do is just send the group an email reply to their contact. In this case the magic of your email account actually does save the address and also sends the newsletter, for example, to your inbox and not directly into the trash.

We talked about the need to keep an updated contact file somewhere on your computer. I love his question. "You mean my computer doesn't just keep all that information automatically?" All I could say was "my friend, your computer is really good but it is not magic." Sometimes you just have to take the time to create a contact list, add new address, etc. and keep it up to date. Wow!

My next experience was with a neighbor that had an iPad that she used for her email. When she came from Michigan to Arizona she could not retrieve her email like she could at home. I remember asking her last year how she got her email without a wireless in her park model. She didn't know but it works like magic she said. I set her up on mine and now she is able to do what little she does online using our wireless. She now understands that her iPad is not magic, not at all.

NOTE: She had a sim card as a possibility in the Bluetooth function but it was not highlighted. I cannot imagine that she even knows what a sim card is. I see that people have complained about the sim card failing on their iPads. My iPad has never had a sim card that I can recall.

I do these things all the time here in the park. People want to share books on their Kindle, print a Christmas newsletter, use text messaging and the list goes on forever. When they get stuck, they show up at my front door.

Coming back to Lowry's post, when you read the article, you will relate to the fact that sometimes the act of completing something online can be very hard. In the case of the Affordable Care Act the people that contracted to do the job failed us miserably. Unfortunately, the wonders of the computer age are being slow to take hold. People here in the park from Canada tell me that their country had the same problems when their plan was launched. See, people, it is not magic.

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You might also read Obamacare sign up is by computer...some of us don't have one! It has information on what Washington state is doing to help those that aren't computer savvy.
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