Chai means “alive” or “living” in Hebrew, and that’s exactly what Brian Levy teaches seniors about today’s technology; it’s almost a living thing, something malleable enough to personalize and easy enough that anyone can use it once they learn the basics.
Levy, with Cambridge Caregivers, started teaching Chai Technology to seniors at the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center of Dallas (JCC) because he wanted to fill two holes he noticed in senior care.
“There’s a need to interact with senior folks, and I knew there was also a need for them to learn about technology because people were always asking me to help them with their phones,” he said.
Now, Levy teaches the class each month, using attendees’ questions guide his curriculum. What they learn ranges from showing seniors how Siri can answer their questions on smartphones to teaching them how to sync photos to the iPad.
“It’s a lot of basic skills. Everyone learns the same thing, and we show them step-by-step how to do what they want,” he said.
Levy has been involved with JCC for years, so he enjoys helping out the community that has seen his family grow.
“My kids were campers, and now they’re counselors,” he said. “It’s a great place to be.”
The JCC is also not just a place for Jewish residents of Dallas; anyone can have a membership and access to helpful programs and classes like Chai Technology.
“They offer summer and temporary memberships,” Levy said. “After that, you just show up.”
Levy said the most challenging part about teaching technology to seniors isn’t helping them understand how technology works but helping them see that they can apply it to their lives outside of the class. Doing so often brings some funny memories, too.
“It’s as difficult as learning a new skill. It takes some time,” he said. “The funniest part is showing them that they can use Siri whenever they want and ask whatever they want. We’ll ask how far it would be for one of them to visit their grandchild in Cincinnati, for instance, and Siri will tell them. They’ll look at me and laugh, ‘How did she know that?’”
The next Chai Technology class takes place on July 25 at JCC, 7900 Northaven Road.
To find out more information about programs and class times, visit JCC online.