Forbidden to leave their homes, tech-savvy senior citizens find ways to stay busy, active, and connected.
Jo Mirabel, 61, of Marikina City started an online business with the help of the knowledge she learned from Smart Communications, Inc.’s Millenniors Program, which teaches seniors how to use smartphone, mobile data, and social media.
“I started by watching YouTube. I learned to make native delicacies like puto and biko. My children also learned to make pastillas,’’ she shares. They post pictures of their goodies online and take orders from their Facebook friends.
With their day-to-day needs addressed by the business, Mirabel can focus on staying healthy. She exercises every morning and eats lots of vegetables. “After all, we are more vulnerable to illness,” she concedes, adding, she has been homebound since the start of the pandemic.
John Bangit of Sampaloc, who celebrated his 70th birthday while in quarantine, turned gardening to pass the time.
He has planted bougainvillea, eggplants, tomatoes, guavas. “I do it to fight boredom—even when I was younger, I couldn’t stand just eating and sleeping and not doing anything else,” he remarks.
Bangit says the Internet and social media have also helped him stay busy even when resting. “When I’m not gardening, I like opening Facebook and Messenger, too,” he says.
Another Marikina Millennior, Josephine Albarida, likes to stay active—publicly. She has taken to TikTok to show off her dance moves.
“I asked my grandchildren to teach me how to use TikTok, but the dancing—that’s all me,” she exclaims. “It makes me feel young and healthy.”
Her inspiration, she says, are her idols, Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza. “I encourage other seniors to try TikTok, too. It’s good for seniors to keep moving. Our bodies will be stronger,” she adds.
Since 2017, the Smart Millenniors program has mobilized youth volunteers from barangays, schools, and NGOs to give tutorials on using smartphones, social media, and LTE.
The program has reached seniors from Manila, Marikina, and Muntinlupa in Metro Manila; Laguna, Cebu City, Argao, and Bantayan in Cebu; Iligan, Lanao del Norte; Cagayan de Oro, Misamis Oriental; and General Santos, South Cotabato.
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