KYLERTOWN — You are never to old to learn something new.
That was the mantra on display at the Sip and Swipe Cafe on Monday at the Kylertown Center for Active Living.
The activity is a brand new one for the center and gives attendees the opportunity to ‘sip’ on coffee and ‘swipe’ on a computer tablet. More specifically, it is a free lesson on how to use the technology in everyday life.
Center Director Judy Hugney said she has been encouraging those at the center to take the classes. A common scenario for many seniors is they receive a tablet, often as a gift from a loved one, but it sits in a closet for months because they do not know how to use it, or the benefits of using one.
“I have been trying to talk them into it because I think it would be interesting to them,” Hugney said. “It’s really good for people to read or look up things.”
Through a state grant, the Pennsylvania Department of Aging was able to purchase Apple iPads for each of the centers within the Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging family.
Since the center in Kylertown has a limited number of iPads, Hugney keeps the lessons to four at a time. This also helps her be able to answer questions and assure the Wi-Fi is able to handle all of the connections smoothly.
“We’re not teaching, we’re coaching,” Hugney remarked. “Everybody learns at their own pace.”
During the class, each pupil is given a tablet with an application called Generations on Line — a program designed specifically to help older adults beginning with tablets. Stages of learning on the app include basics, surfing the web, email, and more.
Hugney also gives everyone a checklist to help them track their learning. When the class comes back for the next lesson, they will be able to pick up right where they left off.
“The thing is, you have to keep at it or you’re not going to remember,” Hugney added. “That goes for all of us.”
The Sip and Swipe Cafe is set up to offer two classes a week over a two-week span. After completing the lessons, seniors will know basic tablet control skills, keyboard, camera, email, and search skills.
Hugney said one of the primary reasons to have the class in today’s day and age is that companies, like banks, ask seniors to go online for additional features.
“You get kind of lost in the shuffle if you can’t go in there to see what they’re offering,” Hugney noted.
Ruth Williams and her husband Jack of Shiloh both attended the class on Monday. Because she has an iPhone, Williams said she found many similarities between it and the tablet. Williams also has Kindle at home, but attended the class on Monday because she often as problems on the tablet that she does not know how to solve.
“It’s amazing how simple a thing can be that causes a lot of problems,” Williams remarked. “It’s interesting.”
Hugney plans to continuing hosting the classes as long as people are interested. Because class sizes are limited, pre-registration is required. Hugney can be reached at the Kylertown CAL at 345-6338.
The iPads will be at the center for use by anyone during regular hours, which are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.