Have often have you heard someone say I am old, not stupid? Probably more often than you know and if you think about it, it will always come from an older person talking about technology.
I am lucky, as an IT person approaching 60, I am able to master the modern digital world but for a lot of older people this is not the case, and I include my wife in that category.
Today I want to focus on one area that is particularly relevant at the moment and one that is causing older people major cause for concern.
Back when I were a lad, I sound like Uncle Albert there! Or certainly, as a young man when I started to go on foreign holidays, life was simpler.
Prior to everything being online, you would go to a local travel agent – remember them? We would often make a day of it and go to the travel agents and then a few drinks and a meal. It was a day out. When the children came along it was only once every few years so we looked forward to it. But first, we would get the holiday brochures and scan them to see where we wanted to go, how exciting that was! Then off to the shops to see what we could afford, in what area. About an hour later you would have come out with a holiday booked. The nice lady (i know that is sexist, but it was always a lady) had done it all for you, booked your flight, accommodation and transfers and made sure the dates were all correct – Simple. Then a few weeks before the holiday you got your tickets in and off you went.
Back in modern times, you trawl the Internet looking for good deals on your flights/accommodation and what board you would like. You then narrow it down, and start the arduous process of booking your holiday (making sure it exists and isn’t a scam) – all done from a phone! How times have changed, if you are lucky you have booked the right dates for everything and don’t have to try and speak to someone on the phone to make changes.
Then you have to make sure you have all the right documentation, so if you are lucky enough to have a printer, you can print it – I doubt a lot of older people have access to a printer, so they try to save it all to their phone – because that is what their children do. Then along comes this small matter of Covid and everything changes. Not only do you have the documents for your flight, you now have to contend with passenger location forms (thank god they are no longer needed) You had to try and work out what region you were going to. I recently went to Playa Blanc in Lanzarote. I tried putting in the address of the hotel, but that didn’t work I tried Playa Blanca, but that didn’t work eventually through trial and error I found the region that Playa Blanca is in is call Yaiza! What a mission that was.
Then you have the Covid certificate, and that only lasts a certain amount of time before you have to renew it – God knows why as the information is the same on the new as the old – for me at least as I am fully vaccinated.
Now you have all this, you head to the worst part of any holiday, the airport, and you have all these older people who have all this documentation on their phones and don’t know how to access it. No wonder it takes so long to get through the airport, at every stage officials are checking your documents and the more they check the more confused and frustrated the older person gets and subsequently the longer the queue gets. Then you get to your foreign destination and the language barrier becomes an issue as well.
So, my advice for older people is to be prepared and print everything out before you leave home and have it all in a folder (like in the good old days) it will make your journey through the airport much smoother and reduce your stress levels.
I am a big fan of the digital era, but it has its drawbacks and for the elderly generation, it is only going to get worse. So you impatient young ones, if you see a person in the airport holding up the queue because they can’t find something on their phone, be patient, help them out because one day it will be you.
And please remember, they are old and not stupid.