Home People Seattle’s 96-Year Old “Tech Whiz” Helps Seniors Span Digital Divide

Seattle’s 96-Year Old “Tech Whiz” Helps Seniors Span Digital Divide

At 96 years young, William Sleeper is not your typical “early adopter.” The former engineer was already 60 when Microsoft was formed. But the Seattle Social Media Club’s oldest member has turned a lifetime of curiosity and technical talent into a later-life career introducing fellow seniors to the digital world of pods, phones, and tablets (with a preference for Apple iProducts it appears). Bill was recently presented with an IPAA Award for “Inspiring Positive Aging” by Senior Services of Washington State.

“I find that many seniors are scared of using smartphones or computers and I want to show them how easy it is and how much fun you can have,” shares Bill. “With a smartphone, you have the complete information of the world in your hands. It really is magic.”

Bill’s “tech training camp” takes place at Merrill Gardens, a highly respected senior living community situated in Mill Creek (among other locations), where he is also a resident.  The facility eagerly supports the “Tech Whiz”  by organizing speaking engagements, recording videos of his classes, and providing him with much needed Wi-Fi bandwidth.  Sleeper travels to other  Merrill Gardens’ communities throughout Puget Sound to inspire his upper-classmen and women with wit and wisdom. To gets hands-on with today’s technology, Bill tells the pre-Boomer generation, “All you need to get started is a finger.”

“When you see how connected he is to his family and friends through technology, you really hope that you can be just like him when you grow up. His passion for helping other seniors is really exciting and he is having a big impact,” says Bill Pettit, President and COO of Merrill Gardens.

Today’s electronics are a gateway for not just interpersonal, but intergenerational communication, allowing grandparents and other elders to stay in touch with kids and grandkids.  Sleeper strongly believes that the Internet offers seniors excellent opportunities to engage with both relatives and the community at large and stay mentally stimulated.

“Get with it kiddo!” says Sleeper at the end of each instructional video as he encourages seniors to give technology a try.

Bill Sleeper’s teaching videos can be seen on the Merrill Gardens’ Facebook page and on YouTube.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IkDjSdRH60M&feature=player_embedded#!

Senior Services’ INSPIRE POSITIVE AGING AWARD has been granted annually since 2006 to a King County senior whose life exemplifies positive aging through community involvement, relationships, healthy living, endurance, and balance. Alaska Airlines provides the winner with two round-trip, unrestricted tickets. To find out more about the IPAA award and former winners, please visit www.inspire-award.org.

At 96 years of age, Bill Sleeper is not your typical “early adopter.” The former engineer was already 60 when Microsoft was formed. But the Seattle Social Media Club’s oldest member has  turned a lifetime of curiosity and technical talent into a later-life career introducing fellow seniors to the digital world of pods, phones, and pads. Bill was recently presented with a Positive Aging Award

 

“I find that many seniors are scared of using smartphones or computers and I want to show them how easy it is and how much fun you can have,” shares Bill. “With a smartphone, you have the complete information of the world in your hands. It really is magic.”

 

Bill’s “tech training camp” takes place at Merrill Gardens, a highly respected senior living community situated in Mill Creek (among other locations), where he is also a resident.  The facility eagerly supports the “Tech Whiz”  by organizing speaking engagements, recording videos of his classes, and providing him with much needed Wi-Fi bandwidth.  Sleeper travels to other  Merrill Gardens’ communities throughout Puget Sound to inspiring his students with a keen wit and sense of humor. To gets hands-on with today’s technology, Bill tells the pre-Boomer generation, “all you need to get started is a finger.”

 

“When you see how connected he is to his family and friends through technology, you really hope that you can be just like him when you grow up. His passion for helping other seniors is really exciting and he is having a big impact,” says Bill Pettit, President and COO of Merrill Gardens.

 

Today’s electronics are a gateway for not just interpersonal, but intergenerational communication, allowing grandparents and other leders to stayi in touch with kids and grandkids.  Sleeper strongly believes that the Internet offers seniors excellent opportunities to engage with both relatives and the community at large and stay mentally stimulated. “Get with it kiddo!” says Sleeper at the end of each instructional video as he encourages seniors to give technology a try.

Bill Sleeper’s teaching videos can be seen on the Merrill Gardens’ Facebook page and YouTube.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IkDjSdRH60M&feature=player_embedded#!

Senior Services’ INSPIRE POSITIVE AGING AWARD has been granted annually since 2006 to a King County senior whose life exemplifies positive aging through community involvement, relationships, healthy living, endurance, and balance. Alaska Airlines provides the winner with two round-trip, unrestricted tickets. To find out more about the IPAA award and former winners, please visit www.inspire-award.org.  [24×7]

Previous articleProgram Manager, Cozi
Next articleNASA Space Shuttle Trainer Lands at Museum of Flight