“This is just a marvelous program; that’s all I can say. It is so helpful and just super!” says Home Connect learner Anna Chou.
A native of San Francisco, Anna Chou spent years working in the medical field as a nurse. When her workplace became increasingly digitized over the past decade, it proved to be a difficult transition. She had always been accustomed to the analog world — writing quickly, filling out charts, and maintaining paperwork. Suddenly, reports had to be typed up. Data had to be entered on the computer. Records had to transition to online formats. Without any formal training at work or home on a computer, Anna felt overwhelmed. “At first, I thought, how do I turn it on? How do I turn it off? Everyone was looking at me like I was dumb. I was not dumb. I had not used a computer for at least seven years. So I remember feeling really embarrassed, kind of small.”
Anna had always been passionate about helping patients, but all the extra time on the computer led to burnout and frustration. She would often stay up late and work after hours to keep on top of things. “It was traumatizing for the whole office to digitize everything. We were spending so much time typing and inputting data into the computer system. That’s why a lot of the doctors and nurses that I knew did give up their medical practices and careers.”
Over time, Anna got the hang of using the computerized systems for work, but she rarely used the internet for personal use. She was excited to have more time to explore the benefits of the digital world upon retiring. This made Anna the perfect candidate for our Home Connect program. Not only would she receive one-on-one digital literacy training, but she would also receive a tablet device upon completing the lessons. When Tony Ortiz of the Richmond District YMCA in San Francisco recommended the program, Anna was excited to get started. As active adult engagement coordinator, Tony has helped many other seniors to enroll in the CTN Home Connect program.
“I’m so happy to be connected,” says Anna. “I’m so glad to be using the tablet right now because there are times when my seven-year-old computer does not communicate or connect with the internet. Being a senior, it’s hard to sit and wait when it is not responding. I have missed enjoyable, educational programs just waiting for a response and connection. I got the tablet and bingo! It’s wonderful to have another medium that I know is more updated and will connect dependably faster with the internet. I feel very, very lucky!”
Anna mostly uses her tablet as a tool for communication — chatting with friends and family over Zoom and other platforms. She also enjoys exploring the internet, watching classic movies, and listening to music. “There’s so much to learn,” reflects Anna. At first, I thought that five hours of lessons seemed a lot, but once I got into it, it was kind of fun having somebody to talk to and explain everything to me.”
Anna’s zest for life and sincere gratitude is undeniable. Her story reflects that of so many older adults who lack the tech training they need to participate in the workplace or connect with friends online. Did you know that 82 percent of middle-skill jobs require some digital skills? Consider volunteering with us to support an older adult to navigate the net!