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High-tech or low, what works for you is best | Page on Age column

“What? You are writing a check?” I said to my dad at Home Depot. I thought writing checks at stores was passé, in addition to being time-consuming. After my inquiry, I was told that this is how he keeps track of his checking account — you know, writing it down in the check register so that when the statement comes he can balance his checking account. “OK, but what about this technology thing of looking at your financials with online banking?” I say. And so it goes, the same old story. The kids are incredulous about how our parents make it in this high-tech world. I am sure my father must have had this same interaction with his parents about something new, and at the time, high-tech.

Technology can make things easier, quicker and exciting, but much of the new technology requires that you also keep up with learning how to use it. I had a client who — for the sole purpose of keeping up communications with her grandson — got her first computer at 91 and learned how to use it. Many of my clients struggle with keeping up and cannot understand why time just won’t stand still. They know the “old ways” really well, but trying to get through to an office and presented with a phone tree or trying to find out an address and phone number but not having a computer or a smart phone is getting harder to do. So, does one embrace changes such as new technology or do they not? It is becoming more impossible for people who do not have access to the Internet or the use of a smart mobile device to get needed information.

I do think more and more seniors are embracing new technology devices and having fun with them. My mom just got her first smart phone. But there are still others who want to write the check at the store. How do we have a happy balance with this? There are always going to be changes throughout your life, no matter how old you are, and choosing to adapt to the changes or not are both options. But you may need to consider exactly how your decision affects your life now and in the future. Or it could just come down to human nature that when something is not working well, then we are forced to change.

Even though I thought it took an eternity to watch my dad write his check at Home Depot, this system works well for him and he makes sure he knows where his money is going and what his balance is right away. Maybe what I need is a little more tolerance of what he is doing well, even if it is not the latest and greatest new helpful gadget.

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