A Lifetime of Changes for Our Seniors

In 1936, President Roosevelt was re-elected for a second term, Germany broke the Treaty of Versailles, and Margaret Mitchell’s epic classic “Gone with the Wind” started a generations-long fascination with Rhett and Scarlett.

By 2016, Hillary Clinton is the first female Democratic nominee for President, Germany is our closest ally, and Rhett Butler is still one of the greatest romantic heroes of all time.

A lot has changed, yet much has stayed the same.

Today’s seniors have experienced astronomical changes in technology. When they were born, Neil Armstrong hadn’t yet walked on the moon, and wouldn’t until their children were young! Now we have astronauts living in space.

Let’s take a look at how some things have changed…


From the rotary phones of their childhood giving way to push button landlines in the 60’s and 70’s to car phones and wireless handsets in the 80’s and 90’s. From completely mobile cell phones by 2000 to the smartphones that now allow us to carry the world in our pockets or video chat from the park, communication has changed dramatically in the past 80 years, not to mention just the past 20.


Before computers there were typewriters or handwritten notes with little room for error – liquid paper to correct mistakes wasn’t invented until 1956! There was no delete button for much of the 20th century, which seems almost impossible now that typing mistakes can be corrected instantaneously. Invented in the 1860’s, typewriters dominated written business communications for 100 years.

But in 1971 Intel developed the microprocessor and proved Moore’s law to be correct – the number of transistors per square inch has doubled every year since they were invented, meaning computers have gone from the size of a large room to something you can carry around in your purse (and that the device in your purse is way more powerful than the room-size computers of the 1960’s and 70’s could have ever hoped to be).


Invented in 1960 by Theodore Maiman, we don’t think much about lasers now because they’re such an everyday part of life. Today, lasers do everything from read barcodes to play CDs to guide missiles to specific target coordinates. When today’s seniors were born, groceries were individually tallied, families played radios and victrolas, and bombs were dropped, not launched from afar and guided.

The Internet

Invented in 1989, the Internet is only 27 years old… so it’s just about the same age as the grandchildren of today’s seniors. In its short lifetime, the internet has evolved from an internal network for linked computers to share static information to a global network that allows for collaboration and interaction in real-time between two users on completely opposite ends of the earth.

To make this technological evolution even more fantastical, smartphones have integrated talk, text, and internet to make it possible to take the world wide web with us wherever we go. Instead of letters that take days or weeks to reach their destination, now we send a quick text, email, or chat that reaches its recipient in seconds. Instead of watching The Wizard of Oz on our TVs, we stream it in line for McDonalds (OK, so at least some things haven’t changed.)

What other technological changes have amazed you over the years?

Please join us for our upcoming Tech Events:

Friday, September 30 from 2:00 – 4:00. iPhone 101. Learn basics such as setting iPhone preferences (you CAN make everything on your screen larger!), using “applications” and calling your family on “Facetime.” Learn how you can make your iPhone work the way YOU want it to work.

Topics include: Navigating your iPhone, Modifying settings, Downloading & Opening applications, Calling, texting and Facetime.

RSVP by Friday, September 23. Hosted at Glen Eddy Senior Living Community

Thursday, October 13 from 2:00 – 4:00. Effectively Using your iPad. Your iPad can be a newsstand, a weather station, a library, a web browser – even a television! It can keep you connected to the world around you, and to your friends and family. Learning the basics and some tips from the experts can open up a new world for you.

Topics include: Navigating your iPad, Modifying settings, Downloading & Opening applications, Reading on your iPad.

RSVP by Thursday, October 6.

Thursday, November 3 from 2:00 – 4:00. The Basics of Facebook. You’ve heard the “buzz” about Facebook – why do people use it, and what do they use it for? Millions of people have connected on Facebook to share information, photos, feelings, and experiences. See updated pictures of your family, re-connect with high-school friends, or join online special interest groups – everyone can find something great about Facebook.

Topics include: What is Facebook?, Uses of Facebook, Creating an account, Viewing & commenting on posts, Creating a post.

RSVP by Friday, October 28.

Seating is limited. RSVP to Caren at 518-280-8369.