81 Year-Old Japanese Woman Learns Programming, And Launches Her First App.

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Masako Wakamiya is a former banker who retired at the age of 60.

You are never too old to learn something new. Technology has been for the most part aimed at the younger demographics as they pick up new things pretty quickly. Nonetheless, this doesn't mean the older generations are not capable of learning how to use a computer.

According to the Pew Research Center, internet usage among people 65 years and older grew by 150 percent between 2009 and 2011. This is the largest jump among all the demographic groups. Social media sites like Facebook and Skype serve as a way for the older generation to stay connected both with family and friends.

Katherine Sellen, a post-doctoral researcher at the Technologies for Aging Gracefully Lab at the University of Toronto in Canada, says being technologically savvy goes beyond knowing how to use a computer. "We know … from other research, keeping socially active can be very beneficial for wellness," Sellen explains. "Keeping active physically is important but social activity also helps to elevate mood and to help to actually impact healing and it can keep cognitive function ongoing as well as one ages."

She found herself caring for her mother but she wanted to do things that fulfilled her and kept her connected to people.

TEDx Talks

She bought herself her very first computer. She figured out how to set it up and log on to the internet all on her own.

She joined an online community for people 60 and older. But this was just the beginning for Wakamiya. She launched her own blog where she shares her travel experiences with her readers.

She began creating Excel Art, using authentic Japanese designs.

The patterns can be printed to use for book covers, gift bags, and fans. She loves making her designs because "it's just so much fun."

TEDx Talks

Wakamiya says you don't have to be a professional to create this type of work.

"If you have creativity, innovative, a little bit of a playful mind, you can do anything," according to the now 81-year-old.

TEDx Talks

She describes knowing how to use technology as giving her wings. She encourages those in the "silver age" to embrace technology.

She urges seniors to get online and communicate with their grandkids. Wakamiya also runs an online group called Mellow Club, with the goal of "promoting friendship among seniors, but also making contribution to the society." Although it is a senior citizens group, the members strive to utilize state-of -the art information technology in many of their activities.

TEDx Talks

Just when you thought Wakamiya had learned all she could, she spent six months studying programming.

She took this new knowledge to create the app "Hinadan."

Masako Wakamiya

Hinadan is inspired by the Japanese celebration of Girls' Day.

The dolls on the app are dressed in the traditional Heian era. The user has to position the 12 dolls correctly in the four levels. A sound will beep letting you know if you move a doll to the wrong spot.


So far the reviews on iTunes have been highly positive.

"The reason for making this applications is that many smartphone apps are for young people and (there) are almost no apps that the elderly can enjoy. I (would) encourage (old people) to start having fun experiences using computers," Wakamiya told Mashable.

Masako Wakamiya

The game ends once the 12 dolls are all placed in the correct spot.

Wakamiya has shared her experience as a senior in the age of technology during a TEDx talk.

TEDx Talks

->**Watch this inspiring 81-year-old share how she embraced technology, changing her life for the better.**<-

You can download the Hinadan App from Itunes.

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