ALEXA – Have you met her?

If you haven’t met Alexa don’t feel bad. Until a few days ago I didn’t know her either. I met her while visiting my friend Helen. We were enjoying a glass of fine when Helen suddenly called out,

“Alexa when do we have to leave for the movies?”

Confused I looked around to see who she was talking to, because I was under the impression we were alone, “Who are you talking to?”

“Oh, that’s  Alexa, our Echo Speaker.” Helen answered.

“Echo Speaker?” What is that?”

Helen told me all about it and while she demonstrated it I felt I had been transferred to another planet. But no, I was right here on earth, and  listening and looking in awe at the black cylinder on the table, I found out that by using nothing but your voice Alexa can help with tasks like:echo-fullres-1784-1-630-jpg-alexa

  • shop on-line
  • create a to-do or shopping lists
  • search the web
  • dim or turn on the light
  • get the weather report and so on and so on……..

These are just a few things Alexa can do. There is so much more; too much to tell you about here – besides I doubt that my explanation could do justice to this little miracle. But if you go on Amazon (yes, where else do we buy anything today?) you can find out all about it, and it might just tempt you to have Alexa as a friend too!

What about me? Did she become my friend? No! Yet, I do admit it’s a really cool idea and she could help me do many things, but this is where I have a problem. Being  at an age when it is important to keep active and move, a device that will stop me from doing things myself is not what I need. So I will wait a few years!


By the way Alexa was named after the ancient library in Alexandria, Egypt –  a tall order to follow indeed., but she seems to manage well.libraryofalexandria


And never forger – A Smile Changes Everything!


Mentors Needed for Social Media Tasks

The last time I talked about what impact Social Media has on older people. How it can improve the rest of our life. How it will give us a purpose, something to do, but most importantly how it will connect us to this new world. But we can’t do it alone. We need help. We need a mentor.

The definition of a mentor in the Merriam-Webster dictionary is someone who teaches or gives help and advice to a less experienced and often younger person.

Yes, that someone used to be us. We used our life experience to give advice, to lead and to teach. But now there is a new reality. One that unfortunately disregards what was valuable before the Internet. And anybody born with an iPhone in their hand does not even want to know of how it was before. I have two grandchildren, 12 and 9 and when I forget that something which is not on the computer is of no consequence, and start telling them a story about the old days -being well brought up – they feign interest, but never take their eyes off their iPhone.

So to catch up we need a mentor – but where can we find one?

  • Senior Citizen Centers
  • Public Libraries
  • At work – if you still work, or volunteer ask your younger coworkers
  • Online – if you already have a computer (but remember going to classes with other humans will feel better and you will learn easier)

And if you live in New York City or vicinity contact:

  • New York Department of Aging
  • Senior Planet
  • OATS – Older Adults Technology Services

And finally the grandchildren. They love to help when it has to do with the Internet. They even take their eyes off their phones to show you what to do on yours. Of course we have to be humble and grateful for their help as otherwise a remark like – ‘Moma I will give you an easy one so you won’t have trouble doing it’ – coming from a 9 year old will sting.

Learning what to do on my iPhone –

Mentors come in many forms and shapes, young, younger and very young. Peu importe – every bit of information will help. Good Luck!


And never forget A Smile Changes Everything!






Retirement – a dream come true for so many, including the baby boomers whose numbers, according to statistics increase by 10,000 every day. Retirement fulfills the dream of not working anymore, of being free and walking on the sunny side of the street. But how sunny is that street. A street that might stretch for 10,20,30 year to come. And what is there to do on that street?

Some find their grandchildren there, or they find places to travel to, or helping others by volunteering, but will these really carry us to the end of that long road? Maybe and maybe not.

But there is something that could make us walk along that street with our head held high and feeling once more that we are part of the world and not just passing time. What is it?

Social Media

Here I have to take a moment and tell you how much I have resisted it. I didn’t like it. I struggled with it, and even went as far as I thinking I didn’t need it. Truthfully I would have preferred not to start and end my day with opening and closing that square window in my office which is part of the computer. So what made me change my mind?

Social Media

Why don’t you go online? Follow us on Twitter! Do you have a Facebook page? Get your statement by going to our website. Do you want to pay on line?  These are all questions facing us at one time or another and there is no getting away from it –  so the answer is (excuse the cliché) if you can’t beat them join them.

And by joining them we can:

  • Learning a new skill
  • Giving our life a new purpose
  • Connecting with the world
  • Feeling once more part of the world

Oh, all this is a challenge and not so easy to do. But haven’t we overcome lots of challenges in our life – why not this one?

To help me do this I have been looking for a program that will teach me. No, not online because that is where my problem lies and I won’t get it. So if you are like me, and want to take on this new challenge, try to find a class you can attend in person. Most libraries have such classes and even computers you can practice on. Or ask friends who already made the connection to Social Media to search the web to find a course for you.

And above all don’t be part of the 35% of seniors (a statistic mentioned by Senior Planet founder Tom Kamber) who don’t have a computer. If you don’t have one, get one and if you have one, learn all about it -be on the highway of life not on a  road leading to nowhere.


And never forget – A Smile Changed Everything!

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Vending machines have been part of our life for a long time, but last week when I wanted to buy a train ticket they competed with a real live person.

Pennsylvania station in New York is a very busy place. Trains are leaving from here to Washington, Florida, New Jersey and Long Island. Never having gone to Long Island I was not sure where to buy my ticket. So I walked up to a young, very young policeman in his early 20s and asked,

“Where can I buy a ticket to Long Island?”

“Over there on the ticket vending machines.”

Wondering where ‘over there’ was I looked in the direction he had pointed to, and seeing my hesitation he said,

“Or do you want a real person to help you?” (is there any other kind?)

“Yes, that might be better” I answered.

“In that case turn right at the end there and you will see glass windows where real persons sell tickets.” and making sure I had understood he said again with great emphasis, “A real person will help you there.”

Following his instructions I found the windows and a real person sold me a ticket.

Of course there will come a day when the vending machines will win and there won’t be  real persons behind glass windows to help us, but until then ‘let’s all enjoy the real people!


And never forget- A Smile Changes Everything!

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