“We all buy a phone or tablet, and we initially start using it to make phone calls, text, or email, but the device has so much more capability than that! How do you learn about the device?” said Bruce.
Originally from New York, Bruce moved around a good deal in his 31 years working in the oil and gas industry before settling in Vermont with his wife of over 50 years.
Previously Bruce asked people to help him with his device. But he found that the instructors often weren’t as patient with him as he’d have liked. So when the coordinator of the Retired Seniors Volunteer Program ( a agency of the Southwest Vermont Council on Aging) made him aware that Vermont had partnered with GetSetUp to offer live interactive virtual classes on technology, health and wellness, and much more, he was intrigued.
“I’m a traditionalist. I like to listen to people give a talk and interact. That’s the wonderful thing about GetSetUp - you can be in on a Zoom call and ask a question as it immediately occurs to you. That’s really outstanding!”
Bruce is recognizing as well the importance of technology as it is starting to creep into his everyday life.
“In our world today, it is so essential to have this additional capability with technology.”
Bruce went to the theater just the past week, and his ticket was on his phone. At the theater, they no longer gave out playbills. You could get the playbill by scanning the QR code on the seat in front of you. While not an essential life skill being able to get a playbill, other skills he learned on GetSetUp have been more essential, like learning to scan a document.
“I learned how to scan a document on GetSetUp. So I scanned my vaccination card and I had it on my phone. When we went out during a gap in the COVID variants, I could then pull it up on my phone when I was asked for it. I just said, ‘Hey Siri, show me my vaccination card.’ I learned how to do that thanks to GetSetUp.”
For Bruce, it’s more than refreshing technology skills; it is also about learning them for the first time from Guides, who he really admires for their abilities to teach in a relatable way. So many times, you will hear that information is on a website or Facebook and if you don’t have the tools to access them, then you are cut off, Bruce says.
“Technology is really becoming an essential thing to know. GetSetUp is a perfect example of where to go. The learning experiences through GetSetUp enable people to manage the technical part of their lives. It’s a great thing.”
When he first got on, he thought an hour-long class was a long time, but it went by in a jiffy, he said. He also really likes the 20-minute classes that focus on one technique. Plus, he knows that there is always a technical person sitting throughout the class to assist learners with any technical issues, which helps ensure classes run smoothly.
More and more classes to explore
Bruce is still just starting to get involved in learning on GetSetUp. He plans to take advantage of it more in the future, after the nice summer months are gone. He has his eyes set on some Tai Chi classes to help with his balance to ensure he can continue to do the activities he loves with the same agility.
During the summer months in Vermont, Bruce loves soaking up the outdoors, either fly fishing for trout or tending his vegetable garden. He enjoys taking the vegetables from his garden and turning them into delicious dinners. During his last years working at Shell, he went to culinary school.
“I wanted to do something with my hands that I could get instant gratification from. There is nothing like cooking for other people to get instant gratification!”
Bruce enjoys cooking for his wife, who is currently working part time at a local university. Plus, since he’s retired, Bruce has volunteered with his local Meals on Wheels and worked with the local Bennington College dining services as well.
“It rejuvenated me to work with those young people.”
He has done lots of volunteering with food co-ops and, most recently, as a Food Fit program mentor. This program teaches people who are prone to type 2 diabetes how to cook nutritional meals and maintain nutritional diets. Prior to the pandemic the events were fun and social where people cooked together and had a family-style meal. Now he’s keen to see where else his love for food and working with his hands will take him.
“I also wish to express my appreciation to the Vermont Association of Area Agencies of Aging and Wellness for sponsoring the GetSetUp program. It’s marvelous that these classes are free of charge for Vermont seniors thanks to them.”