Passwords [Chaplaincy Reflection]

Having written previously about technological issues in a broad sense when it comes to the Silent Generation, many of whom make up the generational demographic in senior living facilities, a specific instance of a technological barrier comes in the form of passwords.

Yes, passwords – that staple of contemporary adulting of knowing your login information – usernames and passwords – is a significant challenge to those in the Silent Generation. On the one hand, it is simply a matter of knowing what it is, where you can even track it down, and find such login information. And if someone has some sort of dementia or other memory loss issues, that becomes a further struggle in finding where these are.

I’ve visited residents in the senior living facility where I work and they have tablets, which is really great (since it’s not a common phenomenon for folks here to have such devices), and I mentioned you know getting onto a particular app (e.g. Zoom, Alexa) and they say okay. Yet when I ask them for their log-in information, residents (this has happened at least three times with completely separate residents) have gone to a notebook or Rolodex and looked where they have written these things down and, in these instances, have struggled mightily to find and figure out what their password was.

As mentioned in my earlier post, those in the younger generations – anywhere from Baby Boomers all the way down to Gen Z – tend to know login information, as it is an important part of living in this world. But, for those in the Silent Generation, who really haven’t had much of a need for most of their lives to deal with this accessibility, it’s a real challenge for them. Of course, let’s be honest: it’s been no minor frustration for those of us (myself included) who go and help them out with a very simple task using a particular easy-to-use app and getting something going functionally – whether it’s the Echo Dot or Zoom -and, yet, it takes so long, as these seniors do not know their passwords nor where they have written them down.

This aspect of helping out those living in senior living facilities with accessing technology under COVID-19 health precautions is a fascinating (and, let’s be honest, frustrating) limitation of accessibility for this particular generation, especially in connecting with their loved ones beyond their buildings.

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