How Three Former IT Pros Use Technology in Retirement

Three Men in Computer Lab

When your career has been focused on information technology since the 1970’s, that passion doesn’t just end in retirement. We sat down with three former information technology professionals, now residents at Applewood, to talk about how they use IT to make life less complicated and more enjoyable.

Using Software to Help Residents Get to Know Each Other

Lee Moffitt, a former electrical engineer at Bell Labs in Holmdel, was on the forefront of the tech explosion that changed the world. Years later, he still uses software and hardware throughout his daily routine.

“I launched the Applewood Pictorial Directory which provides a quarterly directory to every resident, so that they can put a name to new resident faces,” he explains. It’s more personal to be able to welcome new residents by name. I created the directory on my desktop computer and continuously upload the new pictures all the time. It’s quick, simple and everyone seems to enjoy it.”

Lee has expanded the directory into a Meet Your Neighbor interview series where he shares interesting information about some newcomers and shares the articles in print form to residents. He uses Microsoft Word to complete these informative biographies.

Ph.D.’s IT Expertise Evolves into a Source of Entertainment and Convenience

Mike Puhala, a “hopeless techie,” and his wife settled at Applewood just a few months ago. He promptly set up a computer lab in his newly renovated Signature Poplar apartment housing three computers, which serves as the hub of his daily life.

After earning a Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics, Mike served as a Research Fellow at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory. He later moved to Bell Labs, where he designed systems to test and diagnose signaling problems in the AT&T telephone network.

Today, he enjoys finally having the free time to experiment with video “green screen” effects, digitally archive music and craft paper airplanes. He also tapes some Applewood special events, such as performances and continuing education programming, for residents who may have missed these presentations.

Mike touts the value of online shopping from your computer for speed and convenience. “You can order just about anything from Amazon and have it in your hands the next day. I also order grocery and sundry items on my desktop PC from Pea Pod as well,” he says.

When asked how someone new to technology might get started, Mike has some valuable advice–

“Start by determining specifically what you would like to do, such as video chat with family, bank online or use email,” he advises. Mike adds that even if you have difficulty typing or double-clicking, you can use voice-controlled technology to perform hands-free functions. Most importantly, he notes, “Getting started can be surprisingly quick and easy.”

Global IT Pro Uses One Little Device to Make Life Easier

Werner Gruda has lived at Applewood since 2014, after working in systems software sales and support in Europe. While he traveled the world marketing technology, “his brain” is a small, handheld device that rarely leaves him, his iPhone.

“This little device keeps me on track from morning to night,” Werner says. “From sending reminders to staying in contact with friends at Applewood or in Germany, it’s my lifeline.” Werner is also a fan of online shopping for all kinds of products—including his wife’s favorite cinnamon scones, which he orders from a grocery store delivery service right from his phone.

The Germany native also loves his Apple Watch, a smaller version of his iPhone, about the size of an oversized postage stamp. “Once you become familiar with the iPhone, the Apple watch is a hands-free computer sitting right on your wrist. It’s wonderful.”

Werner says seniors new to electronic devices might want to start with an eReader where they can control the size of the book, newspaper or magazine text. “Using an iPad or other reader device allows you to enlarge the words to a size that works for you, without having to search for your reading glasses all the time.”

Caption:  (left to right): Werner Gruda, Lee Moffitt and Mike Puhala are part of a growing constituency of technology pros living at Applewood. They are shown in the community Business Center which offers computers, printers and other business services to residents and guests seven days a week.

Applewood Offers One-on-One Computer and Cell Phone Help

Lee Moffitt adds a few words of encouragement to seniors starting or expanding their foray into electronic devices— “Applewood has a great program offering one-on-one computer or cell phone training run by people who were born with cell phones in their hands,” he says with a laugh. “You can also ask residents for help or guidance. In just a few minutes, I helped a couple set-up a video-chat program so they can see and talk to far-away friends and family.”

Our continuing care retirement community (CCRC) is home to many friendly and interesting people like Lee, Mike and WernerLearn more about the comfortable senior living apartment and cottage living options available here in Freehold Township, NJCall (848) 233-4283 to schedule your private tour or to register for one of our upcoming events for future residents.