‘I won’t get left behind’: Overcoming technology and community changes

Sep 26, 2019
In a online, automated world, Robyn has discvered the benefits to keeping up to date. Source: Getty Images (Stock Photo)

Recent events have me looking at life in a good way and not freaking out at every little mishap. It had been a busy period, having to contact all sorts of people to resolve issues that had cropped up around the house, changes to my financials (which meant talking to government departments) and getting check-ups on my health. I was exhausted.

I’d been clearing up around the house to make way for guests that would be attending my recent birthday celebrations. In the clear out I found items I’d not used in years … I mean many years!

No single person should have this much stuff. There were platters for turkeys (I can’t remember the last time I cooked one) and mirrors and other household items. As someone who lives alone and rarely does any entertaining, I hardly thought I needed this stuff. I once used to hold gatherings on a regular basis, but now I get out for the odd birthday party. I think I am basically called ‘a shut in’ but I don’t mind. I put anything I didn’t want out for anyone who was interested to take it.

I digress. How do you cope with the challenges that occur when using technology? Are you frustrated by the impersonal way many agencies are handling their customer service? In contacting people I now have to be very careful in the way I answer questions. So many places use those computer-generated robot introductions. I hate them! I really want to talk to a human on the other end of the phone.

When I contacted the superannuation department here in New Zealand to discuss my situation recently, I waited 35 minutes for someone to answer the phone. I listened to awful hold music with the occasional verbal update interspersed. It’s enough to drive a person crazy. Technological advances take a bit of getting used to.

I feel for some of my friends. They aren’t able to cope with their problems or solve them quickly and it has become hard for them to interact with the outside world. They are not adapting to the advances in technology or the changes to customer service at all.

I’ve tried to assist where I can. Some of the more pressing matters have had me on the phone trying to sort things out for them. It can be something simple, like getting in touch with their phone or internet service provider, but sometimes it’s more complicated.

What I’ve come to realise is that doing things for myself and getting involved in this way has allowed me to stay up to date in the world that changes around me. The additional benefit is that I’ve become much more efficient in tech issues.

I have difficulty remembering things from time to time (find me a person over-60 who doesn’t), but engaging with the people around me and continuing to work on the computer has many benefits. It’s a good reminder that just because I’m of a certain age, doesn’t mean I’m no longer relevant. That validation can be quite rewarding!

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What changes to services leave you frustrated? How do you keep abreast of technology advances?

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