Tallahassee Senior Center Outreach

Story written by Megan Kelly

Over the past five years, Florida State University College of Communication & Information (CCI) students have developed a beneficial relationship with various local senior centers.  They have been volunteering with Seniors in locations across Leon County (Woodville Branch Library, Cherry Laurel Residential Community, Westminster Oaks Living Community, Tallahassee Senior Center and the Allegro Senior Living Community). This semester, CCI students arranged a Technology Help Booth at the Tallahassee Senior Center.

Meeting twice a week, the booth allowed senior residents to come and ask open-ended questions about any technology related issues or concerns that they are experiencing. The group, led by students Megan Kelly (senior, Statistics) and Andrew Jones (senior, ICT), made an immense impact towards helping seniors better understand their devices and how to properly use them.

The most common issue that the students were presented centered on the use of smartphones and tablets.  This is not new – smartphones continue to present problems for seniors.  Several seniors had recently purchased new smartphones and needed assistance setting them up and navigating around various applications. Co-leader Andrew Jones said, “Even though we were presented with many different types of questions, smartphones seemed to be the most common device seniors had problems with.”

Another common issue presented to students pertained to device storage. Several seniors had used up the majority of their device’s storage, preventing them from taking additional pictures to share with their children and grandchildren. The CCI students were able to set up and transfer files to either Google Drive or iCloud. This freed up a tremendous amount of space on the seniors’ phones, allowing the device to take additional pictures and operate quicker. “During our outreach, several residents asked me about upgrading storage on their phone. Instead of purchasing additional storage, I was able to transfer pictures to the cloud for free. I would estimate that I transferred about 7,000 pictures to the cloud!” stated co-leader Megan Kelly.

Smartphones and tablets were not the only devices students were presented issues with. Other less common issues pertained to Facebook, digital cameras, photo editing software, various messaging apps, as well as an explanation of the difference between ‘cellular data’ and ‘wifi.’

FSU’s partnership with the Tallahassee Senior Center has allowed seniors to receive one-on-one assistance regarding any technical issues they are experiencing. Aiding seniors with their concerns has allowed students to educate and help develop technical skills with the members of their community. The relationship between CCI and the local senior centers had allowed residents to stay connected!

The current FSU team consists of Megan Kelly, Andrew Jones, Jonathan Sapp, Ryan Alger, Steven Centeno and Holly Thorsted.