New class teaches seniors how to use Skype, Facebook

August 18, 2010

When 52-year-old Mark Shearer asked his class of 60 seniors how many of them had used Skype and Facebook, a total of six raised their hands, according to

This particular subject, which is being taught at a retirement community in Pennsylvania, is becoming popular among older adults who are eager to learn new technologies which will keep them in touch with far-flung family members and friends.

“It’s all about communication – it’s the now, the newest craze,” Shearer told the news source. “If you want to keep in close contact with your grandchildren, this is the way you may have to go.”

There were some difficulties in the class. Seniors were concerned about the financial requirements of the services but Shearer informed them that Facebook and Skype are essentially free, unless one needs to invest in additional computer accessories.

Some of the seniors were concerned about interacting with a new medium, like the internet, but Shearer has taught 80 students so far, which seems to indicate that seniors are determined and interested enough to keep at it.

Other technological advancements have been made in remote health services. Personal emergency response systems can be installed in the home of a senior who is living alone, so that it’s possible to alert doctors if a medical situation arises.

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