The Samarkand recently hosted Abby Stokes, author of Is This Thing On?, to encourage senior adults to explore the nuances of today’s technology.

During the seminar, about 62 local seniors learned about the ever-changing field of social media and technology gadgets, and mastered simple steps on how to stay virtually connected to friends and family.

“According to a recent Pew Research study, the top three devices that seniors 65 and older use are cell phones, desktop or laptop computers, and an iPod or MP3 player,” said Pam Bigelow, sales director at The Samarkand. “As a community committed to personal growth, we recognized a growing desire to learn these new technologies and hosted Abby Stokes to educate area seniors about this rapidly changing landscape.”

Stokes began her presentation by introducing senior adults to the differences between computers, laptops, e-readers and tablets, and explained the opportunities that each gadget offers. She also provided attendees with information on the various features of each product and what to consider when purchasing, such as cost, feel and appearance.

“Everyday technological advances are being made that constantly change how we interact with one another,” Stokes said. “For digital immigrants, those who did not grow up in the digital age, learning the nuances of the various products can be overwhelming. It is an honor to partner with communities like The Samarkand to educate seniors on overcoming this barrier and help them feel more independent.”

To conclude the presentation, Stokes provided attendees a list of age-appropriate social networking and educational sites. Attendees also received the “Grandparents Cheat Sheet for Staying in the Game.” The cheat sheet is filled with tips to connect and stay in touch in the digital world, including:

» Make a real-time date to connect with family or friends online.

» Create a ritual such as Tech Tuesday to ask technology-based questions.

» Create a family history by sharing family photos online.

» Send a surprise to a loved one through online shopping.

Stokes has assisted more than 190,000 people online. She travels across the country to help people through their anxiety of technology. Stokes is a firm believer of, “If my mother can learn the computer anyone can.”

The Samarkand is a nationally accredited nonprofit continuing care retirement community. It is one of 14 communities nationwide and is administered by Skokie, Ill.-based Covenant Retirement Communities Inc. as a ministry of the Evangelical Covenant Church. Click here for more information on The Samarkand.