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More Screen Time Please!

older adult tech program norc wow

“I’m in my 80s, I didn’t grow up with cell phones!”

Dorothy’s sentiment is one shared by many of her peers—not to mention people of all ages—which is why the NORC Without Walls (NORC WOW) Supportive Services program has begun a new weekly tech group to provide personalized lessons.

“We’ve focused a bunch on texting, how to increase the font size, and use voice-to-text. There have been social media lessons, how to access email, and just general ways to make our phones more user-friendly,” says Samantha LaRossa, the social work intern who leads the class. “Whether participants have family members overseas or they’re trying to limit exposure to being around potential illnesses, these lessons are helping them remain connected to their loved ones and the greater community during a challenging time.”

The NORC WOW program is one of three Commonpoint Queens Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORC), which are designed to serve communities where a majority of residents have “aged in place,” helping older adults remain safely in their own homes as long as possible. NORC WOW provides services like social groups, counseling, nurse visits, benefits enrollment assistance and so much more for residents of Bellerose, Floral Park, Glen Oaks, and New Hyde Park.

“It’s been incredible watching our participants embrace technology, and it’s not a stretch to say that this has been life-changing for some of them,” adds Ebony Johnson, the program’s director. “We’re helping them remain connected to a world that can feel bigger and scarier, and even teaching them apps to make their lives easier like DoorDash.”

“As you get older it becomes increasingly difficult to learn new things and navigate technology,” adds Ann, who has been a NORC WOW member from afar, but is getting more involved in the program thanks to the tech lessons. “We’re not just learning steps, we’re picking up on a new way of thinking about things and that’s immensely valuable for us.”

To learn more about our NORC Older Adult programs, visit www.Commonpointqueens.org/NORC.

This story is part of our Spring 2023 newsletter – click here to read it.