Key Takeaways:

Ina, a retired registered nurse, and former Navy veteran, has found a valuable resource for her in GetSetUp, a platform that offers a diverse range of classes and community sessions for older adults. Thanks to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Library of Michigan, Ina has access to the platform free of charge, where she has found not just opportunities for learning new skills but also a sense of community and connection with others.

"I started in 2020 and got involved in just about everything. I really like the tech classes that show how to use iPad, iPhone, and Apple Watch and how to utilize Alexa. I have gone to so many different ones and learned so much," Ina says. She particularly likes how Guides such as Cyndi teach classes at different levels, from basic to advanced skills, on the Apple Watch so she can advance her skills. 

These classes help her with practical skills that she can apply to her daily life to make it easier. For example, she learned how to set a timer on her Alexa so she doesn’t forget the laundry in the dryer since it’s easily forgotten or goes unheard since it’s in the basement. 

Learning and trying new things are key components of lifelong learning

Ina's experience on GetSetUp has reinforced the importance of learning and trying new things as a key component of lifelong learning. She has taken classes on gardening, trivia, cooking, music, and more. 

"I have learned more about different things than ever before. I have also discovered a passion for trying new things. In a fitness class with (Guide) Pilar, I learned more about my feet than I anticipated. I never knew that our foot had so many muscles in it. Plus, I learned the benefit of buying a little ball to exercise my feet so they are not so stiff,” Ina shares.

Ina also learns from other people in the classes in addition to the Guides, which is an added benefit. 

“Just listening to all the people talking about different things helps me learn new ideas and concepts," Ina shares.

One of her favorite classes has been around organizing her affairs so that her loved ones don’t have extra work when she passes away and so she can make key decisions about her care and burial. 

“I’m in my senior years and I don’t want people to worry about what would mom or grandma want. I’m participating in getting a big book together of my wishes, so they have no questions. I don’t want there to be any squabbling over what Mom wants. And Guide Lee has added different things to that class over the years based on suggestions other people have made.”

Repeating this class regularly for new insights, and working on her own book of wishes, has helped her feel more empowered about the decisions to be made as she ages and when she’s gone. She’s taken the time to dig deep into funerals and how they work and has been working on her own wishes for the past 2.5 years, thanks to these classes. 

Community and connection are vital aspects of learning as we age

Ina values the sense of community and connection that she has found on GetSetUp, particularly during the isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ina lives in a log cabin on the Muskegon River in a rural area in central western Michigan, so connecting with people isn’t always easy. 

"I really recommend GetSetUp classes because it's such a diverse group of people to learn from, and people are very patient. The guides are so patient, but the learners are as well," Ina says. 

She especially values the support of the Guides, who provide patient and helpful assistance throughout the classes, in the notes after classes, and in some cases, join and participate in community sessions as well.

 "I like it when I get online, and the Guides recognize me with a friendly greeting. It's nice to see that the Guide remembers me too," Ina shares.

Ina is still out helping her local community at 71, where she offers assistance to Amish midwives in delivering babies. This keeps her on her toes in her local community, but it’s also nice to have her virtual community as well. 

“These classes get you up and doing different things. Plus it’s nice to hear the diverse accents. I listen to people speaking from New York, and it brings me back to the time I spent there as a nanny. Plus, then I can participate in the conversations and talk to people.” 

Libraries offer a valuable technology resource for older adults 

As a member of the Friends of the Library, Ina recognizes the important role that libraries can play in promoting learning and technology. 

"It would be nice if the local librarian had a class at the library to introduce older patrons to GetSetUp and all the classes. It may help them to have a local community member show them how to access the site. Plus, for those without devices or internet at home, they can access GetSetUp at the libraries that have the technology," Ina suggests.

Ina appreciates the flexibility of the GetSetUp platform, which allows her to watch classes at her own pace and sends her reminders for upcoming classes. 

"I'm also grateful for Michigan Health and Human Services and the Library of Michigan, who have said that our classes are free. That is a huge, huge benefit for seniors, and there are so many different class times. I just want this to continue. I love learning new things, and with GetSetup there are no risks. It gives so many options for us seniors who want to learn more and keep our brains active," Ina says.

Through her experience on GetSetUp, Ina has found a stimulating and supportive environment for learning as she ages. She values the variety of classes and community sessions offered on the platform, as well as the sense of community and connection that it provides. 

Jun 9, 2023
Learner Stories

Classes by:

Liz Miller

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