Overcoming barriers in learning new things
Witnessing how mobile phones have become incredibly advanced in just a relatively short period of time, 73-year-old Mr Winston Sum concluded that it was essential for him to learn how to maximise the use of his smartphone. “Back in the 1990s, we were still using those big cell phones… and all of a sudden, technology has evolved so much and almost everyone is using a smartphone today!” Mr Sum said.
Mr Sum has been using an iPhone for the past six years. A few months ago, he wanted to switch to a Samsung phone that runs on Android. However, there was a distinct difference between the operating systems (iOS and Android), which took him a while to get used to. He eventually found out about National Silver Academy (NSA) courses through an advertisement in the newspaper and went on to sign up for the course ‘Maximising the usage of Samsung Smartphone’ by RSVP Singapore.
After taking up the course, Mr Sum is now able to make use of various functions in the smartphone such as Google Translate, enhancing and organising photos, and sharing these photos with his family and friends. Mr Sum tries to practice what he has learnt and use these smartphone functions whenever possible.
“If you practice continuously, it becomes easier to remember the steps and processes, and helps to improve your cognitive function,” Mr Sum said.
“Most of us aren’t using the full capabilities of our smartphone. There are so many functions but we are just not exploring them. I am glad such courses are available to us and we should overcome our learning challenges and acquire new skills,” Mr Sum added. He also plans to take up courses related to Digital Banking in the near future.
Not about to retire
Despite his age, Mr Sum has not officially retired yet. Mr Sum was influenced by his father and cultivated an interest in landscaping. Following the footsteps of his grandfather and father, he has been working in the landscape industry for 50 years now. Although his children are working, Mr Sum wants to be financially independent. Importantly, he still enjoys what he is doing, even though it means that he has to spend most of his time outdoors.
“Keeping ourselves active is very important. It is much better to get out of the house and do something, rather than staying at home,” Mr Sum emphasised.
Staying active even in his 70s
Even when Mr Sum isn’t working, he maintains an active lifestyle and keeps himself engaged in various activities. Mr Sum considers himself to be a sporty person, and he does weight training and brisk walking regularly as part of his fitness routine. After an operation earlier this year, it spurred Mr Sum to join a short-term fitness activity organised by Singapore Cancer Society.
Mr Sum also makes it a habit to take a well-deserved break from his work and travel overseas with his family and friends, at least once per year. Often, he likes to visit religious pilgrimages in China, visiting temples and nearby attractions. This year, however, was more special for Mr Sum as he travelled to Europe for two weeks to see his grandchildren. “It was a great trip and I got to hear my grandchildren speaking in French!” Mr Sum shared.
Mr Sum hopes that more seniors will be able to lead an active lifestyle. “There are so many activities that we can participate in. Many of us have reservations, and some may be fearful of asking or doing the wrong thing. I think it is important that we try to overcome this fear. Once you overcome it, there’s nothing that can stop us.” Mr Sum concluded.
**Special thanks to Mr Winston Sum who accepted our interview, we wish him all the very best in his lifelong learning journey.
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