Modern Technology

By Shirley Brown, Screening and Application Specialist at Elder Law of Michigan

It has come to my attention recently that I am no longer picking up a book to read. I have been going to my tablet, computer, or internet to retrieve reading materials. A good novel is to be read in your lounge chair, in bed, stretched out on the couch, or relaxing at the poolside. There is nothing like selecting tangible reading materials from a shelf, bookstore, or library. The art of thumbing through a book as you sit and relax is becoming a thing of the past. Encyclopedias, dictionaries, and information guides are obsolete. Now we go to Google for all our information needs. As things change, they remain the same.

For a road trip, we grabbed a map from the gas station or corner store. As a family planning a vacation, we would sit down and outline where we wanted to go and map out the route we wanted to take. AAA road service members had what is called a “trip sheet” that would give step-by-step instructions of routes and where to stop for gas, food, hotels, and many other highlights along the way. Now we have navigation systems that talk to us, giving door-to-door guidance. Most cars and cell phones have built-in navigation systems. With the push of a few buttons or speaking to your phone, you are told which way to go and the best route to take. Very helpful, but it was such fun to get with the family and map out our journey on an actual road map. However, these new GPS systems know where there are road closures and construction taking place and will navigate you around these situations. Oh, the nostalgia of what life looked like in 1960 compared to 2021. It takes some getting used to, but progress is necessary, often a challenge, and great for improving on life’s achievements. What we lose in nostalgia we gain in progress. Next time you pick up your phone to get directions, think about how different it would be to navigate using a paper map.

Shirley L. Brown is a member of the Economic Security Team and has been member of the Elder Law of Michigan team since 2011. As a member of the Economic Security Team, Shirley focuses on assisting clients with benefits applications such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Medicaid.