While the years were coming and going, Senior Planet kept evolving. They went from using a program that is technically focused to a program that lets seniors have a variety of tools to choose from in order to take control over the way they are going to be aging. Seniors have a mission to take back control on the way they will be growing old. Providers are continuously trying to reach out and help them to live a quality life and to have a sense of purpose while doing so.
“It is devastating to see seniors become unable to do the same things in their daily lives as they once could. When little things, such as walking to the bathroom or taking out the trash become overwhelming. Seniors start to realize how many years have gone by, with many having a hard time doing most of the things they use to have no problem doing,” According to what Kamber said.
Shifting into Advocacy
In the year of 2012, OATS was founded by Kamber and many volunteers. Initially, the original mission of the organization had been to balance things out in seniors’ daily lives. An Analysis from Pew Research Center during May of 2018 showed that smartphone users were 92% millennials when compared to baby boomers of 67%, and the silent generation holds a 30%. It also shows that 85% of the millennials are using social media, compared to the 57% that baby boomers hold.
“It had become clearer to see the space in between while observing the adoption rates on the mainstream tech by the seniors when comparing to the younger generation,” stated Kamber. A simple premise is used in order to base a senior planet’s programming: as seniors are faced with ageist stereotypes, who are quite capable of creating productivity, impacting, and creativity indefinitely.
The tone is set by the program’s exploration center and are built in a manner to get a lot of attention or inspiration out of the co-working areas through Regis, WeWork, and MakeOffices. Centers are set-up with tables to encourage interaction between individuals and conversation with one another. These centers have a lot of open spaces and bright lights. All this happens without being distracted by amenities as it might be in other coworking areas. Which is something that Kamber feels to be rare in the coworking models.
Senior Planet members sometimes are the ones that teach others, helping them to learn how to start up a business of their own and how to launch much-needed advocacy campaigns that are going to help others to also become teachers.
There is a broad range of courses available in the form of different subjects. An individual can begin with the basics of operating a computer, smart devices; and/or laptops; an individual can also make improvements in their levels of fitness by routine exercise schedule; including monitoring the foods they eat; and by using a laptop, tablet, or computer for virtual education courses; including virtual museum tours; write updated resumes and cover letters through Google Docs, and other programs available online; and identifying online scams.
The “design thinking techniques” were designed by OATS and intended for the Senior Planet Instructional Methodology. It is to be used while collaborating and using ‘design thinking’ techniques, which helps with the ability for developing programs and other services which may include customer orientation and research for seeking out better ways of delivering programs.
Senior Planet is just one of the broad-ranged programs used for teaching basic technical skills to senior’s. However, Kamber believes this program has initiatives that will be useful for recruiting, and in the long run, will pay for the better talent. Many of the trainers have been hosting classes for up to six hours per day, and as many as four days per week. With a total of 40 weeks per year. Many of them have been able to teach as many as 2,500 to 3,000 individual classes during their careers.
OATS knows the importance of maintaining smaller and more personal classes. Throughout the session of a class, students must face one another, wear the newest tech gear, and group activity methods will be used by trainers if possible. Individuals being challenged in problem-solving turns into an adult learning methodology, which suggests that individuals can learn something better when they have been given real problems to work with. They are then more apt to use any existing and/or accumulated knowledge they have.
When it comes to the elderly, “They prefer it if you take time to talk a bit and give them some tools and relevant information to use as they work on solving the problem,” said Kamber.
The most significant element of Senior Planet’s Success is the ability to connect with the students according to Kamber. OATS said there was the main point of only hiring trainers who have an ability to fully empathize with the learning approaches of seniors when it comes to technology instead of experts in the field. The program screens for those who are great in front of a class.
According to Kamber, these teachers need to have warmth and empathy and have a full understanding of how to speak to someone effectively but do so in a way that does not belittle the person.
Senior Planet instructors are put through heavy training and OATS evaluates the effectiveness in order to see how they will connect with the students. The students have then measured five impact areas which include creativity, financial security, social engagement, advocacy and health, and wellness.
The main goal is to have engagement with the outside world and be able to use technology in order to create better lives for the seniors. These impact areas are able to serve as a more lasting measurement than the ability to attach files to emails or to be able to search Google.
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