Business & Consumer

SPECIAL REPORT: Bridging the Technology Generation Gap

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) - If you get frustrated trying to teach your dad how to do Facebook, or your great aunt how to text, you may be in the market for some in-home tech training.

An Augusta business woman is working to improve communication between the baby boomers and the millennials... bridging the technology generation gap!

"I have a computer, I have an iPad, but I can't figure out what I'm supposed to do with them."

Can you relate to this? You love your aging parents, but teaching them to use their smartphone or computer is a challenge!

Melonie Holmes says teaching your elders technology is like a parent teaching their kid to drive. Don't do it, send them to driving school!

"There's a thing about family relationships and being close to someone!"

Maybe you are that senior citizen... and you feel left behind with technology.

"I want to be connected with people and not just sit by the sidelines and now know what's going on."

But you don't know where to begin.

"It's a lot to learn for us seniors!"

"Seniors are not slow, they just need to be taught it their way."

Like this group at Brandon Wilde, you may want to be engaged through email and Facebook. Savvy Tech Training specializes in helping seniors learn technology. In as little as 2-hours, they can have Grandma googling and sending selfies to her grandkids!

Melonie Holmes specializes in helping seniors learn technology... something she's seemingly been training for since she was an 18-year-old working at Shell Oil headquarters in London.

Melonie: "In every job I was always the "go to" person in technology. I was always the one who was able to interface between the tech guys and my colleagues, you know, to break it down for them. I'd be the one they'd come and ask questions.

30 years later, this Brit is bringing her teaching skills, and her patience, to Savvy Tech Training. Today, she's coming to the rescue after a client had the tragic experience of accidentally deleting precious photographs.

Gloria: "So, I lost all those good photos, never got them back."

We're meeting up with Melonie at Gloria Smith's house.

Gloria: "With Melonie, I am learning how to do it the right way, so now I don't have any fear because I know she's teaching me how to do this to set up the albums, and now she's teaching me how to put captions on them and how to delete, if I should change my mind.

Jen: You can have all those pictures and your music, and it's just going to make a loop?

Gloria: "EXACTLY"

Jen: So if you did have a gathering or whatever it could be playing on the big screen and you're not having to check on it all the time.

Gloria: "THERE YOU GO!"

Not every phone call requires a home visit.

Melonie: "Cause sometimes, actually, I can give them a piece of information -- they need really need me to come out."

But when she does visit, she incorporates patience and attention to details.

"Breaking down the steps and being able to really write them down- like sometimes my clients will write notes and I'll be like, let me do that because you've missed a step here- and when I'm gone you're not going to be able to remember! And sometimes you need firmness, as well. Sometimes my clients will have all these things they want to do, and I'll have to say no, let's focus on this, i don't think that's right for you. Even times they'll think they need a new computer and I'll go and look and be like, your computer's just fine for what you re doing- you don't need to spend that money, let's just reconfigure it so that it works for you and I'll show you it's fine."

Gloria: "I'm not too scared now with Melonie helping me, she is doing such a great job. She is wonderful at what she does."

And Melonie does more than teach people how to categorize photos, use social media, smartphones and text. She's the go-to person for many who are embarking on encore careers.

"Maybe they didn't use computers before or, now they need to know how to use Microsoft Office, so I customize a class for them where they can learn the basics of Microsoft Office, Excel, Power Point, so they can feel confident at the interview that they at least know it. And when they start the job they know how to use it and how to learn anything they don't know how to do."

Jen: "How does technology help you in your relationship with your grandchildren?"

Gloria: "Texting is the big thing, we do email as well. So, calling, you know with an iPhone you can do all

those things."

Jen: "Do you Facetime?"

Gloria: "That is one thing I do not do! All the other things I probably do but not Facetime."

Melonie says she doesn't have a strict format, she individualizes her sessions based on a client's needs. There are no contracts- you may book a few sessions and then not need any help for months, when you can call her again! Rates are generally $50/hour with a 2-hour minimum.

Govt page:

CLICK HERE for Melonie's "How to" guides to help you make the most of your technology.

Visit Savvy Senior Training

Visit Savvy Tech Training

WEB EXTRA #1  11/9 Client Gloria Smith explains how helpful private tech lessons have been:  WEB EXTRA #2  11/10 Melonie Holmes explains how her career evolved from Shell Oil corporate headquarters in London to Savvy Tech Training in Augusta!  WEB EXTRA #3   11/11 Melonie Holmes on keeping her clients focused on one task at a time, and advising against costly mistakes.  WEB EXTRA #4  11/13 What to expect when you make an appointment for tech training at home.   

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