Community

Nonprofit helps seniors stay connected with evolving technologies

At a time when technology evolves rapidly, older generations are at risk of falling behind. AnewVista, a nonprofit organization that works closely with seniors in Los Altos and other parts of the Bay Area to provide free technology support, has a solution for that.

AnewVista took off in December 2018 when Shalini Gupta and Eric Gee, who previously worked with senior centers in Los Altos and Palo Alto for several years, saw the need for technology support for older adults.

“We really are focused on making older adults live longer, be happy and get the things that they want in their homes using the tools that are available, which right now are technology tools,” Gee said.

Prior to the pandemic, AnewVista hosted workshops at senior centers, retirement communities and centers of trust in Los Altos and the greater Bay Area. AnewVista has now shifted to offering virtual Zoom workshops.

“Now that we have it three times a week, we’re really able to accelerate their learning, and they don’t forget what we taught two weeks ago, because it was just yesterday or the day before yesterday,” Gee said. “So we’ve really seen a huge rise in not only their aptitude, but their confidence and their willingness to be curious about other products.”

According to Gee and Gupta, there are approximately 40 consistent, engaged attendees in their virtual sessions, and several positive observations were reported.
“(Participants) said they enjoyed these virtual classes, especially for the technology,” Gupta said. “It was interesting to see that the students said that even if the pandemic is over, they don’t mind this platform of Zoom, something which they can do from the convenience of their home at any time. So it was an interesting observation for the last few months.”

AnewVista offers 40-50 topics, such as cleaning out email folders, navigating social media and finding reliable news and podcasts, as well as some higher-level concepts.

“When it comes to these simple devices, which are made for younger people, they struggle,” Gupta said. “Intellectually, they are very smart, but it’s just the hands-on part that gets very hard sometimes – and once you open the wall for them, it’s all there for them to enjoy.”

Participants may take as many classes as they would like after signing up on the AnewVista website.

“Basically, we cover all bases, like how they can be safe, how they can be creative, how they can be social and how they can enjoy more things for fun, communication wise,” Gupta said.

AnewVista continues to expand and is in the process of adding senior centers to its service list.

“The trick is to really find what’s the obstacle for older adults to engage with technology or engage with the digital economy,” Gee said. “We invite everybody to enjoy and just learn a little bit more, especially in these times of sheltering in place, which isn’t going to end anytime soon.”

For more information on AnewVista, call 300-0688 or visit anewvistacs.org.

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