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Beline Obeid

You're never too old to stay up to date

June 13, 2013
If you stop by the Chocolate Bar Cafe in Grosse Pointe Woods on Tuesday afternoons, you might wonder what those senior citizens are doing as they move about the confectionary, looking a bit perplexed, but definitely on a mission as they search through cupboards, counters and candy bins.

No, they aren’t looking for their car keys or their glasses. Members of this tech savvy group are looking for their iPads.

It was just another task put forth by instructor Ann Magee to her students, who range in age from 66 to 93, as they work to keep up with their grandchildren in the technology department.

Grosse Pointe Woods resident Magee, whose “day job” is personal trainer and Pilates instructor, has been an Apple devotee for years, and has used Apple devices to track clients, appointments and classes. She noticed that more and more of her clients were coming to her with questions on how to use their laptops or iPads, and she decided to start classes.

“While most of my clients knew how to use their iPads for the basics like e-mail, they didn’t know how to use it much beyond that,” Magee said. “Now they are learning all that it has to offer.”

Susan Durant of Grosse Pointe Farms agreed, noting that her iPad was a gift from her children.

“My knowledge was fairly limited,” she explained, “and I knew it had a lot more potential.”

Durant and classmate Kay Wasinger of Grosse Pointe Park had been tasked with activating the locater device on their iPads. Magee had hidden their iPads somewhere in the Chocolate Bar, and they were using Magee’s laptop to aid in the search, not only locating their devices, but activating the alarm signal to help them pinpoint the exact location.

Wasinger uses her iPad to keep in touch with her three children and several grandchildren spread across the country, and especially its photo capabilities.

Which is why she appreciated the next exercise Magee gave her students, cropping five photos they had stored on their iPads and e-mailing them as one e-mail instead of several.

While most members of the class say they use their iPads to stay in touch with family, the oldest member, Oscar Paskal, 93, said his iPad has introduced him to his neighbors in Indian Village.

“The residents of Indian Village have their own Yahoo group, and I joined that,” he said, explaining that prior to getting an iPad, he had seldom even used a computer. “It’s opened up a whole new life for me. You can stick with the old life, but I wanted to get involved in the 21st century. This has helped me establish several new relationships.”

Diane McCormack of Grosse Pointe Farms bought her iPad two years ago with the intention of using it to video conference with her children while on a trip to Europe.

“It was very useful, but I knew I wasn’t using it as much as I could,” she said. “This class has been very helpful in learning all it can do.”

Barbara Queller, 82, doesn’t spend a lot of time sitting down with her iPad. This veteran of four marathons, got her iPad to use for e-mailing her children, and especially enjoys sharing pictures.

“I enjoy the ease of use, and I love sharing it for sharing pictures,” she said, but noted that while she is an avid reader, she doesn’t download books onto her iPad.

“I need to have a book in my hand. I guess I’m old fashioned that way.”

Magee welcomes new students, but notes she keeps her class size to a maximum of six. She encourages her Pilates and technology students to keep up to date on class schedules by using the SignNow program. Magee can be reached via e-mail, ann@annma

geefitness.com. She also will work one on one with iPad owners. The fee for the class is $10 per session.

And while Magee brings her knowledge and expertise to each class, Wasinger notes she brings the most important tool of all.

“Ann is extremely patient with us,” Wasinger said with a laugh.

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