50PlusPC teaches technology to seniors
AWest Island retiree has just celebrated her 4th year in business helping seniors learn about technology. Monica Reider, of Dollard des Ormeaux, has always had a knack for understanding electronic communications and always enjoyed teaching people. Now she offers training sessions for Facebook, Skype, smartphones, computers, Macs and iPad at her clients’ own homes. She wants her clients to enhance their lifestyles with their (new) devices. If a client doesn’t own a particular device, she will bring hers for them to try and practice on.
However, perhaps most importantly, Reider who is 66 refers to herself as a junior senior is close to the age of many of her clients. “I am not intimidating to seniors,” as she puts it. “They feel reassured once I start working with them. We understand stand each other”. Her clients generally range in age from their 60s to early 90s.
“I start by asking questions, seeing what my clients’ needs are. I listen to them. I listen to what they want to know. Why must they wait for a course to come along with an abundance of information that is, frankly, useless to them. They don’t need to know the intricacies of a computer, they just want to email, chat, or even play games like solitaire. I show them, step by step. I don’t do it for them. It’s important that they do it for themselves. Everything is written out and we go over it as many times as necessary until they can comfortably manage on their own and feel independent. Everyone is different. Everyone works at their own pace.”
“Sometimes when younger people try showing us how to use technology, they have little patience or understanding. The young ones were born into this computer world, we weren’t, and they sometimes forget that important fact. For them it’s 2nd nature, for us it’s a whole new learning process. I’m a ‘Hands on’ person and know how important it is. I show people and guide them so that they can do this on their own.”
It is becoming increasingly important to cope with modern electronic technology and communications for both business and social reasons. Reider points to online banking as an important feature that many seniors are unfamiliar with.“It’s a great feeling; it’s liberating when you don’t need to go out in bad weather, or just don’t feel up to it, to be able to get into your banking online.” she notes.
Reider can also show how to sell unwanted items the modern way, via electronic notice boards such as Craigslist and Kijiji, helping clients to de-clutter and perhaps also bringing in some extra cash at the same time. Making purchases online via E-bay and PayPal is also becoming increasingly important.
“But the biggest push for seniors is coming from wanting to keep in touch with their families and friends.Young people today prefer to communicate online by Facebook, Twitter and email; letter writing is almost a lost art.” She also notes that Canada Post has phased out home mail delivery as another reason to get aboard with electronic communications.
“Long distance telephone communications can be carried out easily and at no cost via Skype, Messenger, FaceTime etc. Learning about electronic communications is especially pertinent for many Montreal seniors whose families have moved away from Quebec. These new skills help to keep seniors in touch and break the isolation.”
“Smart phones can also be intimidating for some users. I had one client who bought such a phone for emergency use, but never used it, never turned it on, not even once for an entire year. She was embarrassed to admit she didn’t know how to use it. She is not alone. I can show people how to use these things...”
Reider jokes about how her husband always used to call for her whenever the family TV or VCR machine wasn’t working properly, and how she was able to quickly solve the issue. To supplement her knack with new technology, she has taken various courses at the Cummings Centre,The West Island Career Centre, and at John Abbott College in recent years. Reider also tends to be one of the consumers who rushes to buy the latest technology just so she can stay abreast of the newest developments.
Back in 2013 Reider had impressed the Quebec government enough to merit receiving a new business start-up grant.
“I go to my clients’ place of residence to show them how to use their new technology. I have clients over the city, West Island, in NDG, Cote St Luc, Park Extension, Verdun and downtown. There’s a one hour minimum with my services. Payment can be made by cash, cheque, Interac eTransfer or credit card. Some clients even like the idea that they get points from using their credit cards”.
Monica can be reached at 514-830-9156 and at monica@50PlusPC.ca
We teach seniors; we empower them!