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Digital Bridge: District staff teach folks how to use smartphones, tablets and laptops

Digital technology can be confusing at any age and especially when you switch from an Android device to an Apple product. Just ask Jessie. The 85-year-old Camarillo resident was having a heck of a time because she had an iPhone watch and a Samsung smartphone, and they couldn’t “talk” to each other because they weren’t using the same operating system.

“Not everyone has grandchildren or someone adept at new technology to tell you about these things,” Jessie says. “The Camarillo Health Care District is like having a family member you can go to and say, “How do I do this?”

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Jessie is feeling more confident coordinating the calendar on her iPhone with her smartwatch after a Digital Bridge appointment with our staff.

Jessie’s life changed in 2020 when she fell from a stepladder and broke her hip. That’s when she got the Apple smartwatch – to bring her peace of mind because it’s always on her wrist and enables her to call 911 if she falls again. But switching to the iPhone so her phone and watch can share information has been challenging. Jessie says the iPhone hasn’t been as easy to figure out on her own.

So, Jessie reached out to the District and made a Digital Bridge appointment with staff member Elsa Sierra. Appointments, which are offered at no cost, range from 30 minutes to one hour and can be made as often as needed by calling 805-388-1952.

During a recent visit to the Camarillo Health Care District, Jessie learned how to add appointments and events to the calendar on her smartphone. She had been relying on a paper calendar, but realized her iPhone could make life easier by displaying her appointments and reminding her through notifications. She tried setting it up on her own, but it wasn’t working.

“Those dates on my calendar just seemed to disappear once I entered them,” Jessie says. “I would blame it on my phone, but I knew it was me and I needed help.”

“Elsa was so sweet,” Jessie said. “She sat down with me, and I immediately felt comfortable. My son and daughter had explained it before. But Elsa had a way of teaching me so that I understood, patiently walking me through each step.”

Now, whether it’s a doctor’s appointment, dental check-up, reminder to pick up medications from the pharmacy or an appointment at the veterinarian, her phone alerts her and keeps Jessie and her life on schedule.

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Fran gets assistance with her iPhone from Ashlyn, who works at the Camarillo Health Care District.

For Fran, an 80-year-old Camarillo resident, the Digital Bridge program and the District’s Social Media Basics class have helped her stay socially connected and informed about topics she cares about.

Fran first enrolled in Digital Bridge after upgrading her iPhone to stay up to date with the latest technology. She wanted to learn some of the new features and nuances of the new device. She returned after getting a new computer, and recently after purchasing a next-generation iPad, which she uses to download books from the Camarillo Public Library.

“With senior citizens, we don’t have a natural aptitude for technology,” she says. “Our generation is used to learning a system, rhythm or process. I’ve learned here that sometimes you just need to keep working on figuring something out until you can make it happen. It’s about perseverance and opening yourself to going through the experience.

“At our age, we feel like we should know everything. It’s important to push past your issues. I recognize I am still learning.”

After her series of Digital Bridge appointments and a couple of social media classes, Fran feels more at ease with technology and says Facebook groups, and online videos, resources and information make her life richer, and help her stay connected to the world.

Digital Bridge offers free, one-on-one, telephone assistance or in-person visits at the District to help you gain an understanding of the general use of technology such as iPhones, iPads, tablets, and some common applications such as FaceTime, Zoom meetings, and medical Telehealth calls. Learning about these communication opportunities can offer new ways to connect with friends and family, improve access to health services, and alleviate symptoms of isolation, loneliness and depression. Call 805-388-1952 to make a Digital Bridge appointment on our campus at 3639 E. Las Posas Road, Camarillo.
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