Octogenarian proves you're never too old to learn, or teach


When you think of a "technology wizard" an 86-year-old man may not be the first person who comes to mind.

But Moses Cooper loves modern technology and he's sharing that love with others at a senior living community. What Moses teaches could help you with tech and the seniors in your life.

The class he teaches is held every week, and they only focus on one subject per session like the topic at a recent session, how to store passwords. The simple class is changing lives.

It may not be what you expect to hear at a senior living center.

The class is full of eager students like Nancy Frey, a retired school secretary.

"It's just a wonderful thing to get together and say how do you do this and how do you do that?” Frey said.

The teacher, Moses Cooper, was born decades before personal computers were invented but he's immersed himself in learning all he can and then sharing his knowledge.

“We're not here to break any records, we're just here to learn a little something,” Moses said.

Moses spent more than thirty years helping people navigate the city as a bus driver. He's now focused on helping his friends navigate the world of technology.

“I am not a computer whiz but I am the type of person who sticks with a problem until I solve it,” Moses said.

The head of the senior center where Moses teaches says his energy is contagious.

“If I have a resident say to me, 'I am too old to do that,' I have a whole table full of people I can take them to and say, 'Yes you can,'” said Kristen Pickle, Executive Director West Park.

Moses is all in when it comes to the latest gadgets. In addition to an iPhone and iPad, he has an Apple Watch and an Apple Pencil.

But it all started with a Commodore PC.

“Oh gracious that's been over 20 years ago!” Moses said. “I love it. The more modern it is the more i love it!”

And his students love him.

“He builds me up,” said 76 year old Frey. “He does it with everyone. You think you only have a little bit to offer and he let's you know you have a lot to offer. He's always there for me. He's a great man.”

The teacher has learned a little something too.

”You just got some nice people here,” Moses said. “These ladies here, they treat me like I am somebody and that makes me feel good to know that.”

If you're teaching an older tech user there are some things to keep in mind. There are free resources - most public libraries have free classes to start the ball rolling.

  • Don't assume any operation is basic - even things like copy and pasting are important to teach step-by-step.
  • Showing a senior how to find things can be a huge first step to helping them learn on their own. Resources online from Google to YouTube can be a good place to start. Have them search on their own for tutorials because figuring things out can bring the power into their hands.
  • Don't assume social media is for the young. A PEW research center study revealed that 59 percent of people 65 and older go online every day.

Where the younger generation uses social media to take selfies the older generation uses tech to find information and community.

Here are some links that can help seniors learn tech.