Staying Socially Connected at 103

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Last Updated on October 12, 2023

From Running Water to Video Phone Calls

Isolation. It is one of the worst things about aging. Retirement happens. Worlds shrink. Loneliness sets in. It hit Ed Miklavcic hard. Ed is 103, healthy and sharp. In a lively interview on the Growing Bolder podcast he said, “I played golf five days a week every week until I was 100 and then I kind of pooped out a little bit.”

He’s always been active, always been social. Now, he was moving into an assisted living facility. He worried it would be like being locked away, forgotten. That’s when someone gave him a gift that changed everything, a gift of connection, of relevance. A way to be part of the daily lives of his family members and friends. A tool that would bring them closer than they’d ever been before. Simpler than a smartphone or laptop, it is an easy- to-use tablet designed specifically for seniors: a GrandPad.

“That GrandPad is the greatest invention since Carter made pills,” said Miklavcic. “I call my son every morning and I talk to my daughter, too.”

Miklavcic has been around to see some amazing advances since his birth in 1920. “We didn’t even have running water when I was young,” he explained. “We never had a bathroom or shower or tub or anything and there were fourteen of us who lived in a three-bedroom house.”

“It was such a different time,” Miklavcic remembers. “I never owned a bicycle, a wagon, roller skates, ice skates, or anything like that. And to go from that to being able to make video calls to my family is truly incredible.”

Something else truly incredible is the life Miklavcic has led. He grew up through the Depression, he enlisted in the U.S. Army at 17 and was stationed at Pearl Harbor when it was attacked on December 7, 1941. He is now one of the last living survivors.

“Experiencing that you could say I started the day as a boy and ended as a man.”

He was also at the Battle of Iwo Jima. “Yeah, we were in a foxhole for eight weeks,” he said. “Two-man foxholes.”

After the war he found work building elevators, which he did for 44 years. Retirement meant a chance to indulge in his favorite pastime, golf. He played every day he could and also became sought after as an instructor.

“Helping others was always a way of life for me,” said Miklavcic. “I have a great love for my neighbors and my community and believe we all should look after each other. Now, I’m in an assisted living apartment.

We know we’re here to die. We talk about that. We talk about the good times, and we help each other a lot.”

Having a way to stay socially connected to the outside world, especially his family, means everything. “That GrandPad makes me so happy. The first thing I do each day is put on some country and western music, then I start making my calls. I get to see the kids face-to-face, laugh and tell jokes. They can tell me jokes, too. They tell me stories about how they are living and how the world is changing. It really gives me a nice life.”

“I don’t have friends anymore,” he said. “Most everyone I grew up with, served with and worked with have passed on.” But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have fun. What does he do?

“Chase women,” he said with a smile. “There are some very nice women here and there are two that every day I drop by to deliver some chocolate candy to them. I suppose you could say I’m a romantic. They do seem to like to see me coming. I just love to make people smile. I think that’s what keeps me alive and feeling good. As long as I have that and my GrandPad, I don’t feel so alone. At 103, I am a happy person. I hope I make it to 110.”

To see why countless older adults are choosing this easy-to-use device to stay socially connected, attend a product demo webinar by registering at GrandPad.net.

This article is featured in the Summer 2023 issue of The Growing Bolder Digital Digest.

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