Seniors Also Enjoy Technology As An Option
The United States Post Office is the second oldest department in the United States of America. It was created on July 26,1775 when the Second Continental Congress declared, “… THAT A POSTMASTER GENERAL BE APPOINTED FOR THE UNITED STATES, WHO SHALL HOLD HIS OFFICE AT PHILADELPHIA, AND SHALL BE ALLOWED A SALARY OF 1,000 DOLLARS PER ANNUM.” What the Second Continental Congress had no way of knowing was that over 200 years later there would be full out attack on the Post Office that would send the institution reeling; the Personal Computer, the Worldwide Internet, Social Networking and, “Facebook.” I know, ‘Facebook’, is a form of social networking . However, Facebook has had an impact on interpersonal communication that has set the world on fire! It is in a class by itself. No, the Post Office is not dead, but it was dealt a powerful blow on February 4, 2004, the birth of,” Facebook.”
Today, like the rest of us, many Senior Citizens were left stunned by the announcement that over 2,000 area Post Offices all across the United States will close their doors permanently. At a time in their lives when their transportation options are often limited, trekking across town to another postal facility the elderly view this as a major inconvenience. The neighborhood Post Office, to many seniors, is more than a place to mail a letter or purchase a stamp, it is a vital part of their community, but the Internet and social networking are quickly gaining ground.
I do understand the decline in postal revenue. Many Americans have made a mass exodus to the Internet, including older postal customers. Research clearly supports the fact that an evergrowing number of the elderly are using computers. Much to the detriment of the Post Office, these tech savvy seniors have discovered the convenience of banking online, paying bill with the touch of a button, and keeping up with loved ones through social networking, namely, “Facebook.” I have witnessed this in my own family, as my 80 year old father uses ,”Facebook,” daily. At first he was first apprehensive of the new technology but, he soon discovered this was an easy way to keep up with political issues, church updates and the goings on of family members. Like many seniors, both Facebook and the Post Office play an important part of his daily routine.
No one disputes the time saving value of the Internet or the many ways in which Facebook has revolutionized the ability to reach out across the world in seconds. However, there is still something to be said about walking in to your local Post Office, greeting neighbors and supporting your own community. Compelling statistics show that seniors are flocking to Facebook in groves. As a major article pointed out the sobering fact that, “the number of US women over age 55 using Facebook grew by 175.3% since September 2008, making mature females one of the fastest growing demographic groups on the social network.” The same article goes on to reveal, “The number of men over age 55 also grew dramatically during the same four-month period (up 137.8%), but women over 55 still outnumber men in this age group by almost two-to-one.”
Seniors actually send more email than younger generations, “…94% of wired seniors have sent or received email, compared to 91% of all Internet users.” The Post Office has definitely been affected by this, “Silver Tsunami.” Perhaps they should change their way of doing business as many other American corporations have had to do to stay afloat. But to close the doors in over 2,000 locations is not the answer.
I would think the Post Office Management Team, instead of closing their doors, would be shouting to seniors from the rafters and offering them everything from a free calendar to lawn services to pull them back to their offices and website. I visited the Post Office website and found a lot of wonderful information. But, it doesn’t help that they are on ,”Facebook,” too. How many times you’ve been to the Post Office in the last month?
by Suzette Boston -Senior Community Services (permission granted to post this article)