linkAges TimeBank hosts 2nd Annual Tech Day for Older Adults

Over 80 older adults from Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Mountain View and other surrounding communities improved their ability to use their personal technology devices to connect to their friends and loved ones at the 2nd Annual Technology Day for Older Adults, held at the Los Altos Library on Saturday, May 16, 2015.

a good crowdTwenty-five volunteers from Stanford, linkAges TimeBank, Bullis Charter High and Egan Junior High came from as far as Oakland and San Jose to provide individualized, one-hour sessions with older adult attendees. Topics included how to better use a computer, smartphone, tablet and social networking applications like Facebook or Skype.

Adults and volunteer pairs filled the Los Altos Library, spilling out into the lobby, Children’s Room and Teen Study Room. Judith Gregg, community librarian for the Santa Clara County Library District, beamed about the record turn out. “Libraries aren’t meant to be quiet, silent places anymore. We are thrilled to facilitate such learning exchanges across the generations.”


Dilip Kumar, an 8th Grader at Egan Junior High School was enthusiastic about volunteering. “I had a lot of fun volunteering for the tech day. I really enjoyed working with the older adult and teaching her how to download apps to her iPad.  It was also nice chatting with her about what it was like to grow up here in Los Altos.”

The older adults who attended shared how appreciative they were for the “learning opportunity” and one even mentioned how glad to not be “made fun of or ridiculed” for not knowing how to use their device. In general, attendees of all ages benefitted from the day!

IMG_3513We’d also like to give a special thank you to the Los Altos Library and Los Altos Library Endowment for use of the space and laptops during the event.

Those who want to continue giving and receiving technology help are encouraged to become members of the neighborhood service exchange network,  linkAges TimeBank. For additional photos from the event, visit our Facebook Page.

Empowering Older Adults Through Technology

Tablets, smartphones, laptops – we saw all of these devices and more at our “Technology for Seniors” event on January 10 in the Town of Los Altos Hills.

Many older adults received these items as holiday gifts from their children and grandchildren, but needed some help on learning how to use them. With that in mind, the linkAges TimeBank partnered with the Town of Los Altos Hills to host the “Technology for Seniors” training session, and empower older adults through technology.

More than 80 participants and volunteers attended the event, where older adult participants were paired with a tech-savvy volunteer who could answer their technology questions. Based on their needs, participants were assigned to one of four stations: Apple products, Windows products, Android products and General Questions. Upon arriving at their station, participants received one-on-one tutoring from a volunteer for an hour. Volunteers included linkAges TimeBank members, as well as local middle and high school students who were looking for ways to give back to their community.

Many participants wanted an introductory lesson on how to use their tablet or smartphone. Some were looking for tips on Internet safety and security. Others were seeking information on how use applications like Facebook and Skype so that they could stay in touch with loved ones who live far away.

Thank you to everyone who joined in the event and made it so successful! Visit our linkAges Timebank Facebook page to see photos.

The exchange of knowledge doesn’t end there! Older adults can continue to receive free, one-on-one technology assistance from others in their community by enrolling into the linkAges TimeBank. For more information about the program and to register, visit the linkAges Timebank website.

Meet the Advocates



By Miki Rai

Being a linkAges Advocate and PAMF intern has given me the incredible opportunity to meet people in all walks of life, who have background knowledge in areas that cannot easily be determined just by judging their superficial appearance. One of the reasons I enjoy working as an Advocate so much is because I feel that this internship has given me the capacity to gain so much more than I can give. Everything around me, the people, the activities, and everything else, are all part of a learning experience that I cannot achieve through any other means. I am fascinated by the fact that each intern holds a unique set of attributes that makes them outstanding at what they do. Maybe you’ve gotten a chance to read the Advocates’ blurbs on the website, but if you’re looking to REALLY get to know the interns, this post is for you!

Nhi – The calm, mysterious one

During the times that I have worked with Nhi, I have to say that whether it be driving to a new location or trying a new method of interacting with seniors, she is always ready for whatever is approaching us. Even in the most nerve-racking situations, she manages to stand her ground. I threw mysterious in there as well, because no one really knows how she is able to appear so graceful in everything that she carries out. It almost seems too surreal. Nhi also seems to have a steady equilibrium in her life — in addition to applying to medical schools, she somehow manages her time well enough for weekly Friday hangouts.

Bob – The expressive, knowledgeable one

Unlike the rest of us who are all following public health/medical school routes, Bob is a computer science/math genius. Whenever I have any questions regarding product suggestions or technological challenges, Bob is my go-to guy. In the case that he doesn’t know the answer, he will still set you on the right track and tell you where to look for the answers. Also, if you say something he may not completely agree with, his signature move is the slight head tilt, eyes looking up at the ceiling and palms up, contemplating.

Kasie – The curious innovator

One thing I really admire about Kasie is her ability to always actively think and ask questions. In all contexts, she is constantly taking notes in attempts to further her knowledge. Over the past few weeks, I can see that she has already integrated what we have learned in the trainings, workshops, and personal experiences to help make the most out of each interaction. If something doesn’t go as well as it could, she implements a change the next time a similar situation arises. As a side note… she is also gluten-free by choice, which is pretty incredible if you ask me.

(FYI,  the above three are all rising seniors at Stanford!)

Mihiri – The personable friend

Mihiri is the Advocate that is closest in age to me. I still remember the first week I met her. For some reason, I immediately felt like we had so much in common. She has this incredible way of making you feel comfortable around her, like you could share almost anything with her. Mihiri listens to what you have to say, and from that, thinks about how she can reply with something that cultivates a steady flow of conversation. It is her ability to stimulate conversation that allows people to open up to her. Of all the Advocates, she is the most focused on the public health piece.




The Unique Challenges of Teaching Tech to Older Adults

By Mihiri Karunaratne

mihiriStepping into the Mountain View Senior Center, you can already pick up the atmosphere of an active and engaged community. The space is beautifully designed and decorated, and full of older adults learning, socializing and enjoying themselves. It is different from my visit to other senior centers, some of which had smaller groups of people. From the start, the tech assistance that I, and my two other team members, Dominic and Kasie, were asked to give was also of a slightly different nature. The boards and postings made it evident that the members of the Mountain View Senior Center had several resources offering highly qualified technology help.

After a few minutes, it quickly became clear that today was going to be exceptional. Each of the individuals I helped today presented me with unique and challenging questions and problems; none of which I had experienced before. It forced me to think on my feet, and problem-solve to the best of my abilities, so that I could create a positive experience. Along the way, I was able to give some kind of help, regardless of the problem and my prior knowledge. I managed to work together with all of the seniors to combine our knowledge and discover alternate solutions. I had an especially rewarding experience working with Mary N, as we scoured the Internet looking for a way to understand Google Voice. Eventually we learned that the program had been informally replaced with Google Hangouts, and slowly delved into understanding the process of making calls. Finally, after almost an hour-long session, we managed to accomplish the first thing we had set out to do. Even though we took a much longer road to get there, it was a great experience to help Mary empower herself to connect freely with her loved ones and her community.