Those in-person sessions disappeared with the arrival of COVID-19, and as of March, the group found itself moving entirely online.
“It pushed us out of our comfort zone,” said Wills. “We were forced to move to the virtual environment, which was a new way of communicating with the demographic we serve. But the good news is we’re now getting requests for classes from as far away as California. Two weeks ago, we were asked to lead a group in New Zealand. So the word is getting out.”
That word is that it’s now more important than ever for seniors to stay connected.
“One of the greatest negative impacts of the technological age is that seniors are left behind,” said Wills. “Studies have been done on the ability of seniors to stay current and how that avoids a sense of social isolation, especially now when seniors need to stay engaged with families and friends.”
But the group’s classes aren’t limited just to those over 55. “That’s how we define our target, but we’ve had some as young as 39 attend,” said Wills. “The oldest was 101.”
Decatur resident Ronnie Mitzner learned about the group’s classes through her daughter.
“I first took classes at OLLI (the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) at Emory to learn about photography with iPhones,” said the 77-year-old. “I also learned how to handle notifications, search through messages by name and to do Zoom.”
As many older adults maintain shelter-at-home lifestyles, Wills has expanded the group’s offerings to include one-on-one sessions online or at home.
“We just started that about two months ago,” he said. “We wear masks and gloves if we need to touch equipment. We can also do sessions over Zoom, and we’ll work on just about any issue. We still have a lot of people asking why the Wi-Fi router keeps going down or why the printer doesn’t work.”
Information about BH Technology Group is online at BHTechGroup.org.
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