Tuesday, 12 March 2013
A 27-Year-Old Takes on the World of Elders – Part 2
[Part 1 was posted yesterday and can be found here.)
As I explained yesterday, I “met” 27-year-old Marcie Rogo on the telephone after she emailed me seeking a story on Time Goes By about her fledgling, online business, ConnectAround.
I don't get to spend time with many people her age (these days, with years passing as quickly as they do, those who were once my “young” friends are closer to 40 than 20) and I liked connecting with this smart, hard-working woman who lives in quite a different world from mine.
Marcie's company creates safe, secure online websites for people living in 55-plus communities to help them connect with their neighbors. Here is part of how she explained it to me in her first email:
”We started with just me and my first hire Joyce who, at 81 years old, wanted this service in her community. She had just moved in and was finding it very difficult to meet people despite the many amenities and activities offered by her community.
“We just provided her a safe place to connect and then spread throughout Rossmoor via a bit of a grass roots effort. Within a few months Joyce was running around with an iPad and she definitely proves age is JUST a number!
“Over the past year, groups have been started through the site like Spanish Language practice, Vegan dinners and Poodle Owners. Neighbors have met each other through the site and are now close friends. It's incredible to watch and makes every thing I've been through 150% worth it.”
The websites for the first two communities, Summerset in Brentwood, California, and Rossmoor in Walnut Creek, California, were launched in 2012 and more are being added. They are funded by the communities' management companies and are free to residents.
When I asked Marcie for a story about her experience working with and for people old enough to be her grandparents, she responded with some fascinating differences between our generations. Yesterday, she covered, elder paranoia, no free lunches, professionalism and dress habits of the young and old.
Here now is Part 2.
As you read this, I’m sure you’ve noticed I have horrible grammar. This is not just something that’s genetic in my family but also something that’s common among my generation because of tools like spell check and even grammar check on MS Word.
We, as peers, have come to forgive each other. We are writing quick emails back and forth and have prepositions at the end of sentences or do not use a semi-colon where we should or spell something wrong. We are moving so quickly we get the memo, forgive, forget, respond, and move on.
This is NOT the case with the older generation. I have gotten numerous messages about my poor spelling or lack of grammar. I am not forgiven. This is a huge problem and at some point we are going to have to hire a copywriter. My bad!
SYMBOLS, BUTTONS, ETC.
This is quite straightforward. If you weren’t raised using computers, no one should expect that an arrow means “next” or that a gear means “settings.” These are things that I forget, I’m so used to seeing that it’s literally second nature.
My generation is full of unintelligent, ageist people that like to conclude that older adults are “computer-tarded” or something of that nature which really makes my blood boil. Put any one of us at a typewriter and expect us to know what to do – we won’t, because we never had to use one.
This is why, when everyone asks me why I don’t just target younger communities, I say no. I’m making this for people that don’t have something made for them and who are struggling to use sites that were built for 20-year-old techies.
I want to make something for them that is easy to use and doesn’t make them feel stupid. Because they aren’t. I hope there’s a young person that does this for me one day when I am trying to keep up with the whirlwind of changes going on around me.
GUESS WHAT'S THE SAME? DATING AND MEN
Do you know what is exactly the same? Dating. It still stinks! Now, I can only speak form a woman’s perspective but Joyce, our 80-something community liaison, is female and she has told me some stories!!
The single men in her community are the obvious minority since many women outlive their husbands or move into the communities as divorcees for safety and security. These men date MANY women at once, even women that are friends. They play the field and do not commit.
Sigh, some things will never change. Even my grandmother is having trouble finding a companion. She tells me all the time, “I don’t want to be a nurse, and I don’t want to be a purse. And that’s what these men seem to want.”
DO YOU KNOW WHAT NOT THE SAME? CHIVALRY
The men may be playing the field in the older generation but they at least open doors, call on the phone, do not flake, compliment, pay the bill, etc. Also, they do NOT text.
The men in my generation think texting is OK for everything. I’ve been texted to be asked out before even meeting. I’ve been texted to find out about my day. I’ve been texted to be told he is cancelling our date. I’ve even been texted to be broken up with.
Texting enables men to be cowards, which does allow me to throw them in the bucket faster once I figure this out.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Marcy Belson: Arizona Cowgirl