Senior Internet Training


Jan Engoren

Senior Internet Training on Popular Websites

While surfing the Internet and a quick Google fact-check is second nature to many these days, there is still a segment of the population that struggles to get online and navigate. Many seniors, dragged reluctantly into the tech age, have acquiesced and accommodated, however slowly and painfully.

“Learning your way around the Internet can open up a whole new world for seniors,” said Tali Kentof, Jewish community liaison for Vitas Healthcare, who teaches the Grandma Online class at the Boynton Beach Senior Center, along with social worker Sherry Picker.

“The Internet is an online encyclopedia,” she said. “You can get all your questions answered in a split second. Learning to be computer savvy adds to a senior’s sense of independence and gives them a sense of control, which is important.”

Kentof, who also gives classes on caregiving and how to have a conversation on planning for end of life care, said she was motivated to create the class after meeting a senior who asked her for help with online dating.

“She asked me to help her upload her picture to the site,” she said. “I saw such hope in her eyes that I developed this program to help seniors improve their quality of life.”

Jean Young, 87, a volunteer at the senior center, signed up for the Grandma Online class in May.

Originally from Ohio, Young worked for Ohio Bell for 37 years and, although retired, has no desire to slow down.

She has a Facebook page and emails regularly with friends and family. She signed up for the class to become more conversant in Skype and to learn how to maximize her smartphone use.

“I’d like to download music from Pandora, and learn how to text,” she said. “If you don’t have someone showing you new stuff, you just keep doing the same thing.”

Likewise, Beverly Ward, 70, a retired chiropractor assistant and travel agent, who lives in the High Point community in Boynton Beach, signed up for the Grandma Googles class to improve on her skills.

Relocating from Woodstock, Vt., Ward said her skills became rusty because, “Up there, we had no cable and no Internet.”

Ward owns a laptop and an iPad mini that she used to take photos while traveling in Europe.

She said she hopes to learn to Skype to talk with her grown grandchildren in New England and wants to learn how to shop on Amazon and QVC.

According to Kentof, the most popular sites that seniors want to investigate include dating sites, Pandora, Netflix and YouTube.

Kentof taught her mother, Alina, 75, a Holocaust survivor, how to navigate around a computer.

“She didn’t know anything about technology,” she said. “But now she can do almost everything I can do – text, attach files. She forwards Jewish jokes to me, listens to Pandora on her iPad and watches TED Talks on YouTube.”

“She drives me crazy, texting me all the time. She even sent me an audio text,” Kentof said, jokingly. “If she can learn it, any senior can learn it.”

“Once they discover YouTube, it’s pretty exciting,” said Picker, a social worker from Paradise Home Health Care. “They can see Frank Sinatra’s first concert or see how to make matzo ball soup.”

“These sites add to their quality of life,” she said. “They can find a local movie, restaurant or travel or watch any movie at the touch of a button.”

As a social worker, Picker gives the seniors tips on how to spot red flags on dating sites or not to sit too long in front of the computer.

“But, we’re here to educate, entertain and enlighten,” Picker said.

For information please call the Boynton Beach Senior Center at 561-742-6570 or follow them on Facebook (boyntonbeachrecandparks) and Twitter (@boyntonbeachrec).

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Should you be interested in having any of the “Grandma Online” classes at your Senior Center, ALF or organization, please contact Sherry Picker 561-672-7170. They are presented free of charge.


Beyond article… Older adults are among the fastest growing segment of the population to use the internet. Senior internet training at Retirement Communities, libraries  and Senior Centers are very popular. They have heard of many websites, now they know which are which and where to find music, movies, lectures,  and basically every which is found online.