“How Terribly Strange To Be 70…?”

 

Do you remember these lyrics from Simon and Garfunkel’s song “Old Friends”?

Of course 70 is the new 50 (or so they say) and I am amazed that we thought 70 was ancient way back “in the day”. Many of us over 50 have parents and/or relatives well into their 80’s and up, leading productive lives, driving, and living independently.

But one problem I have seen is how the new technology affects our seniors. Now many are very savvy technologically, when they are sitting at a computer but what about out and about? (Virtually everything in So Cal is computerized, and this may not be so for other parts of the country.)

At a local supermarket I often use the self checkout, where I can breeze through in a few minutes. I look up all the codes of my produce, and scan the other items, bag it, pay and take my receipt. Many times I have seen a senior in front of me, trying to figure out how to scan some items, or find out the PLU# on other items. There’s always a person to help them, so that makes it much easier for them.

Yesterday, I was headed to a lunch meeting and pulled into an “unattended”  parking lot in downtown San Diego. I parked my car and headed to the computerized station, where you insert your ceredit card and get a ticket. I saw an elderly gentleman staring at the screen in front of him, obviously with no idea of how to proceed. I will be honest…there are NO directions until you insert your card and press a button. Of course I could figure it out, since I have been computer literate for 20 years, but an elderly person? I took his card. His space # was concealed UNDER his car—how in the world could he find it? I counted back from my space,  and went through all the steps with him. Voila! I produced a coupon which he then had to be told to place on his dashboard. Yes, there were directions on the screen, but not very legible, and in bright sunlight, almost invisible. He simply needed an hour to park his car while he did an errand.

 

How I relate this to Real Estate: Senior clients do not have the technology skills we assume everyone has. If you have a senior client there needs to be a different set of parameters in order to get contracts, listings and other paperwork to them. Patience is key—–and remember, technology is new to them, old hat for most of us. Don’t ASSUME—you may lose a good client over a problem with a simple solution!

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