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Seniors and smart phone classes offered

Published: Sep. 23, 2021 at 5:57 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - It’s lunch time here at the Washoe County Senior Center.

Unlike a high school lunchroom where many students would have their heads buried in a cell phone--there are only a handful of seniors with the devices. That doesn’t mean though they don’t have them or realize the importance of them. The problem is, they may not be able to tap into the phone’s full potential.

That is unless they have help.

“I see the kids. My kids may take the phone and take the phone away, and put stuff on it,” says Martha O’Brien, a volunteer at the center. “So, they take care of me. I have no knowledge of how to do it myself,” she says.

O’Brien says seniors she knows have cell phones and understand how the devices connect them to the outside world. But if they don’t have help like she does, seniors can be left behind.

And it could all be based on preconceived notions about the phone.

“They feel unsafe about using the phone for other than a phone,” says Paco Lachoy, Senior Citizens Advisory Committee Chairman with the city of Reno. “Is my information going to get stolen? Where is that information going? The instructor in the class talks about clouds. None of the seniors understood what the cloud was,” he says.

Lachoy says seniors lack of understanding about the smart phone became very evident during the pandemic lock down. Told they were most at risk; they could not navigate their way to get tested or vaccinated.

That’s why he and others have pushed for organized classes for seniors to learn more about their smart phones and the devices’ capabilities.

The classes will be outside under the gazebo at Paradise Park. Participants must sign up for the two-hour course.

While it is only a piece of technology Lachoy says it is a lifeline to the outside world--consider he says Washoe County has some of the highest senior suicide rates in the country.

Please contact Kayla Snow at (775) 334-2366 or SnowK@Reno.Gov to reserve your spot.

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