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Grandma, phone home

By Jennie L. Phipps ·
Monday, June 16, 2014
Posted: 4 pm ET

I jumped in the lake last week when our 18-foot fishing boat sank at the dock, and my husband needed help maneuvering it.

All's well now with the boat, but my mobile phone -- which was in my pocket -- wasn't so easily repaired.

I dried it out in some rice, and it works again -- sort of -- but not so well that I could avoid 'fessing up about the swim to my son, who is employed in the  manufacturing operations of a major cellphone company and has kept his mother supplied with the latest and greatest so we can video-phone when he's traveling.

This is the second phone that I've taken swimming, and his reaction -- a deep groan and a drawn-out "Mom!" that sounds like "Ma-ahhhhhhhhhhhhhmmmmmmmmmm!" -- makes me feel like a wayward 5-year-old.

But at least I do use a cellphone, even if I have trouble keeping it high and dry.

Baby boomer barriers to techonology

Some 95 percent of baby boomers and Gen Xers believe that technology could allow people to age comfortably and safely in their homes, according to a recent survey by Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business and technology company Phillips, but they also believe that there are serious barriers to adoption.
© sunabesyou/
Only 9 percent of adult children think their parents are savvy about technology. And, among older baby boomers, only 62 percent feel technologically savvy themselves. They say difficulty in learning to use devices and problems with fixing them when they don't work right discourage them from exploring technology and reduces its appeal as a retirement planning tool.

The study says for some people, money is a barrier to a technologically smart retirement. Only 33 percent of boomers and Gen Xers said they would be willing to pay $100 to $499 per month for technology that would allow them to stay at home rather than move to a care facility.  Another 34 percent capped their willingness to pay at $25 to $99 per month -- not much money when you consider the cost of a smartphone and a monthly calling and data plan.

More instruction needed

The real barrier to technology acceptance and use isn't money, says Ladan Manteghi, executive director of the Global Social Enterprise Initiative at Georgetown University "Boomers want to be independent, but when it comes to taking the necessary stops, they just aren't adequately informed about how these technologies can benefit them and what they really cost," she says.

"We need to do a better job of showing people how technology can make their lives easier, and directing them to a website isn't the answer," says Manteghi.

Would these kinds of technologies make life better for you?

  • A self-driving car.
  • Constant monitoring of your health.
  • A robot that cooked your food and helped you move around?

What other technological tool would you like to have?

Is the golden age of retirement near?





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June 18, 2014 at 5:10 pm

I am 85 years young. I like to keep up with new technology where it is useful, like the Medical Alert.I had a little argument with my daughter. She couldn't undertand that I only use my cell phone to make calls and only if very necessary. I do not give my cell phone number to anybody. I managed to live without a cell phone for most of my life. And.... many years ago (about 50) I didn't have a regular phone neither and had to go to some business to borrow one And...I survived.

Joe M
June 17, 2014 at 12:03 pm

Our younger generations are becoming robots because of their smart phones. They are losing the art of interpersonal communications and thinking for themselves. I'm 52 and use a map to travel; my 20 year old daughter uses GPS and and drives thousands of miles and has no idea where she is,or how she got there.