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Ronni Bennett Live from Gnomedex


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http://live.pirillo.com/ – There are 35 million people in the US who are 65 and older. People don’t know or don’t pay attention to what elders need to use computers and the Internet. Ronni has set out to change that… and change it she has.

In 1995 Ronni was hired as the first editor of the CBS News Internet portal. She needed to talk to a writer one day and realized that she was the oldest person in the room, by decades. She was 55 at the time. At that point, she started researching what aging was all about – everything she found was about decline, debility, disease, and death.

A few years later she had a massive amount of material, and decided to start a blog about aging just to get the information she had collected organized. People started reading… a LOT of people.

During today’s session, Ronni asked for two volunteers. They had to put on gardening gloves and special glasses, and then get online. The point was to show the challenges facing older people who want to surf the Internet.

The issues that they had were difficulty typing, and vision was blurry. Dark colors on a black background was even more difficult than white text on black background.

Seniors are the fastest growing age segment online. Currently there are no more than 9,000 geriotricians in the US. Because there are so few of them, the challenge is figuring out how to take care of elders. If we can get enough elders online, we could monitor all their vitals over the Internet, which means much less trips to the doctor.

Many people 65 and older have never used a computer at work, and therefore end up teaching themselves how to use their computers. In Ronni’s own words:

“At first, Time Goes By was just a place to put my research and thoughts on aging. I had no further ambitions for it and no illusions that with such a loser topic, many people would want to read it. Four years after its inception, Time Goes By has become a complex mix of reporting on every aspect of aging: health and medical issues, ageism and age discrimination, media, technology, politics and public policy, cultural attitudes, marketing to elders, the important of language, love and sex, friendship, post-career careers, retirement, retirement living, family, the prospect of death and, certainly, humor.”

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