Age Fearless: Diving into the digital world

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Technology is an ever-important part of life, connecting us in ways we couldn't have imagined a few years ago. (WPVI)

Technology is an ever-important part of life, connecting us in ways we couldn't have imagined a few years ago.

Now there's a new initiative to help seniors dive into the digital world, like Pat Grubbs has.

She's always been tech-savvy. It came with her job.

"I worked on PC's when they were just coming into vogue, and really caught onto it there," she said.

Although fellow seniors have taken to email and Facebook, a nationwide study found that only 1 in 4 use technology for healthcare - a topic many already find confusing.

"When you merge the difficulty of healthcare with the difficulty of technology, it's kind of a double whammy for people," said Michelle Histand of Independence Blue Cross.

Independence Blue Cross is trying to bridge the digital gap through Independence Live!, a new state-of-the-art customer center in Center City.

It has a kitchen for cooking classes, and rooms for yoga, zumba, and meditation sessions open to members and non-members alike

But Histand, who is IBC's director of innovation, says one special focus is technology classes such as basic tablet training.

"That really goes over how to turn on and use your tablet, how to access apps, how to set up email, how to surf the web," she said.

Histand says other upcoming classes include budgeting, finance, and preventing identity theft.

Members can also get individual help navigating their accounts, or learning about new apps, such as one that gives reminders on when to take medications.

"If we can get folks to be more savvy in general, the next step is to get them using more from the healthcare perspective," said Histand.

Using technology is more than being cool - it can help seniors live on their own longer.

"It's giving them the confidence to do that, because they're really able to be accessible to loved ones and caregivers," said Histand.

Pat always enjoys learning new things, and she encourages others to conquer their computer fears.

"Just go on there and do it," she said. "You're not going to break it!"
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