Last updated on October 27, 2020
When I taught physically handicapped children at a special school, I learned to appreciate the tools that we human beings use to achieve our goals.
A carpenter, for example, has to use a hammer or a saw to do his job and we consider it normal. The carpenter is not ashamed of using these tools rather than only his body.
It is the same for those of us who need extra help. As a teacher, I helped children learn to use tools or assistive devices while pursuing their academic goals without shame and to see these tools as normal.
As I age, I am in need of tools as well. So, with my glasses and hearing aids, I can continue my normal activities, but with some modifications. Lately I have discovered my latest tool—my iPhone.
A few weeks ago, my internet was down because of an outage in the neighborhood. It took all day to fix and felt like a disaster. Then a friend came to the rescue. He told me that my iPhone can be used as an internet “hot spot,” to get WiFi on my other devices. Sure enough, the setting was there and with a little direction, I was back in business.
Then I realized that this little object is like a personal assistant, helping me in spite of my aging limitations. For example, my driving has been safer, because the GPS with its audio directions lets me know when to turn and what lane to use. I even use it when I am in familiar territory.
I no longer need to carry around my load of cameras because the latest iPhone has excellent features, and my phone is always with me.
My music on my phone now syncs with my car radio for a relaxing ride.
My hearing aids also sync with my music so that I can walk in the neighborhood without using headphones.
The phone’s email and texting capacity allows me to be easily connected to my family and friends.
Other apps on my phone provide the latest news, weather reports, a calculator, and transit routes, which keep me connected to the world. I also get emergency alerts from the city or county.
The phone’s calendar is easily accessible, reminds me of where I am supposed to be, and is even shared with my son’s phone, so he can stay aware of my schedule.
Smart technology is now a normal part of our modern world. It is not just robots doing the work of humans; it is humans being assisted in ways that often let us live our lives more fully.
This technology is a particular gift to older adults and people with disabilities. Let us embrace it!