Seniors Learn The Internet

Computer class for seniors has waiting list as elderly discover e-mail, online


Charlotte Todd is a senior who has discovered e-mail as a way to stay in touch with relatives and friends, and she is among a growing number of seniors who are turning to the Internet, after living almost their whole lives without computers and the World Wide Web.

The Payson Senior Center for the past two years have been holding computer and Internet classes for seniors who are interested in learning about the technology.

Senior Center Director Marcia Cauley said the classes, which have a capacity of 14 students, are always full.

Larry Frisbie, a senior who owns a computer business and has taught at the college, helps seniors who take computer classes at the Center.

Frisbie said more and more seniors are learning about computers and what they offer.

He said there is a two-month waiting period for the classes at the Senior Center.

Todd, now an avid e-mail corresponder, grew up in a different era where there were was no Internet, but added it is becoming a necessity in today's world.

"You have to keep up with the times," she said.

Most of the seniors are complete novices to the Internet, Frisbie said, and mostly want to learn about one primary factor of the Web -- e-mail.

"This age group wants to learn about e-mail to keep in touch with friends," he said.

Todd said e-mail is the reason she logs on because there is no other way to get in touch with her friend who is somewhere overseas while working for the Navy.

"Right now that is how we stay in touch with him," Todd said. "That makes it real nice."

Senior Nadine Lawson said she intends to take the computer and Internet classes, adding that she is a complete novice.

Frisbie said he has to teach seniors the bare basics about computers before even thinking about teaching them about going online.

Most people who take the classes at the center, he said, have never been at a computer before.

He said the first thing he does when teaching seniors about computers is helping them learn the terminology. If one does not understand the language, they will not be able to master the computer.

Frisbie said there are many seniors who purchase computers because their children insist on it because it makes it easier to stay in touch.

He said he seen the Internet literally save the lives of seniors as they now have a way to check on their prescriptions and medications as well as any physical ailments from which they could be suffering.

Cauley said most seniors are being exposed to computers for the first time, but added there are people that want to learn more than the basics.

"They can e-mail families and get quick responses," she said. "They can get a lot of quick information off the Internet. They can go in and check on their medications."

Cauley said seniors are realizing the importance of this technology.

"It's one thing they are learning later (in life)," she said. "Now, it is impossible (to get by and) not know anything about it."

-- To reach Michael Maresh call 474-5251 ext. 112 or e-mail

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