FROM THE TUSTIN NEWS, THURSDAY, NOV 4, 1999


THE DOC IS IN...

Exercise your neurons and keep them happy

My friend and colleague Louise Records teaches some wonderful computer courses here in Tustin. I visited her the other day to ask her advice about an upcoming word processing class that I am going to teach. She has been teaching classes like this for the last four years and I wanted to pick her brain.

Her class was in session when I got there and, like always, she was animatedly at the board explaining how to make letters larger, or smaller, or something like that. What struck me was that of her eighteen class members, each studiously at a computer, fifteen were older adults, mostly seniors with a few pre-seniors mixed in.

As I watched I again wondered what possessed these seniors to take a morning of their busy week, and for eighteen weeks at that, to sit in front of a machine inherently foreign and frightening to them. Why, when they have reached a point in life where they no longer have to struggle with new things, do they sit there and anxiously take in Louise's every word?

The answer, of course, is that they want to be there.

Why would they want to be there? There probably are as many reasons as there are adults in the class. Possibly they want to go on the Internet and exchange Emails with their children. Possibly they just want to be able to understand their grandchildren who sit in front of their own computers acting like little pro's with no fear what-so-ever.

Possibly they just are having fun.

I guess the point that I am trying to make is that this computer revolution has something for people of all ages. For older adults it can open up a whole new chapter in their lives. It can take a complicated life and make it easier and more enjoyable. It can unite them with friends, new and old, all around the world. It can present an almost endless variety of information about health, travel, finances as well as the history of the Battle of Hastings.

And for those less healthy, it can open a whole new window on the world that they can visit from their own living rooms.

So why don't more older adults enter this cyberworld? The biggest reason I hear is that they are afraid of the computer. They are afraid they will press the wrong key and the whole thing will disappear, the machine will break or, worst of all, their grandchildren will laugh at them.

Nonsense.

We older adults still have thirteen of our fourteen billion original neurons in our brains and, as the scientists tell us, we can keep them healthy and active by continuing to exercise them by learning. We are perfectly capable of learning the in's and out's of computers and the Internet. Maybe we can't do things as fast as our children or grandchildren but we surely can master those skills that will make our lives more interesting and enjoyable.

So don't be afraid to jump on this computer train. It's moving out of the station but there is a place on it for everyone willing to jump aboard. Take advantage of the many resources available in the Tustin area.

Call the Tustin Area Senior Center, (714) 573-3340, or the Tustin Adult School, (714) 730-7395, for the dates and times of their many computer and Internet courses. Exercise your neurons and keep them happy.

Sites of the week:

If you are interested in traveling and learning at the same time, try the Elder Hostel web site at: www.elderhostel.org. They have hundreds of programs all over the world and the word from people who have tried them is that they are wonderful. By the way, be careful that you type (dot) ORG and not (dot) COM.

My neighbor introduced me to an interesting web site the other day in his quest to rid his lawn of Nutgrass. It's: www.ipm.ucdavis.edu. It is the University's Integrated Pest Management web site and lists and pictures all sorts of commercial and home pests with descriptions and environmentally safe methods of eradication. Give it a try. Again, watch the (dot) EDU.  _____________________________________________________________________________ Dr. Art Holub is a long time resident of Tustin and teaches computer and Internet courses at the Tustin Area Senior Center and the Tustin Adult School. Visit his web site at: www.arholub.com. This column is written to address the computer adventures and concerns of older adults. If you have comments, questions or suggestions for future columns, Email HIM at: doc@arholub.com.


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