By Lee Shappell Tribune Managing Editor
The first thing to know about Senior CompuCare, which opened recently in Chandler, is that its name is a misnomer.
Yes, the company was founded in Florida eight years ago to assist senior citizens befuddled by modern digital technology.
Since then, it has broadened scope to aid not only seniors but also veterans, small businesses and organizations bridge the technology divide by teaching day-to-day computing basics and electronic-device instruction.
Licensed owner Shirley Mayor operates Senior CompuCare-Valley of the Sun, the first Arizona location, with the intention of providing digital-technology training services to individuals and businesses in Chandler and neighboring East Valley communities.
“With us, it’s, “What do you want to know?’” Mayor said.
“We listen, listen, listen to what somebody wants to accomplish, what their needs are. Then we formulate a plan with them as to what we can do to help them out. We’ve built a methodology into our business: We don’t want them watching us take over their device, and then they walk out and didn’t learn anything.”
Senior CompuCare has no brick-and-mortar office. Mayor comes to East Valley clients to coach them in their environment. Or, she will arrange a meeting in which clients bring along their electronic devices for personalized coaching on them.
“We got to our clients,” Mayor said. “We want them to be comfortable, learn on their own devices the things they want to know. That’s very important.”
Mayor will even counsel on ergonomic issues and lining up repairs of equipment.
Often, senior clients do not know relatively simple things, such as how to communicate effectively with an internet service provider.
“They’re so terribly frustrated,” Mayor said. “First, I make sure my understanding of the problem is correct from the client, then I get the provider on the phone. I speak in their language. Most of the time, we’re able to resolve the problem with me just being the liaison, that referee, helping the seniors understand that the provider can’t go farther until they are provided more information.”
Pricing is established individually based on the job, but generally, Mayor said, fees are $50 an hour with a two-hour minimum.
Course offerings are customized to suit individual clients. Instruction is not limited to computers and laptops. Training is available for smartphones, iPhones, iPads, tablets and cameras.
“Everything is customized. It’s not canned,” she said. “Clients have told us so many times that they’ve been to a training facility, sat there on a computer or device they had never been on before, gone through a whole hour and maybe there were a few moments of what they really wanted to know. You don’t get much out of that. I always ask a client, ‘What would you like to know?’ If they don’t tell us, we don’t know how to help them.”
Senior CompuCare’s how-to training can consist of creating an understanding of computer/internet functionality, features, programs or apps. A client’s request might be as simple learning how to use a iPad, smartphone or digital camera. Mayor will teach clients how to make a doctor appointment and travel reservations or to create documents and forms on a computer. She’ll help set up a new printer.
Training sessions for use of various software products and apps, such as Microsoft Office, Excel, Outlook, Quickbooks and Quicken, as well as website design setup, are available.
In 2010, Didier “Nick” Nicholas, Senior CompuCare president and founder, had his brainstorm for the company in Longwood, Florida. He had heard seniors repeatedly express frustration in dealing with new digital products in their daily lives. Out of their frustrations, the Senior CompuCare was born. There are 11 licensed Senior CompuCare locations across the U.S.
“Many times clients are looking to polish skill sets because they want to get a new job,” Mayor said. “We had a gentleman who was a soda-route driver. He had a job interview coming for a sales position. He knew what he needed to learn. We made a plan and did it in segments. He couldn’t believe it. He got the job.
“We’ve had people retiring and who wanted to look for another job. They’d been out of the job market for a while. Everything had changed. They had to polish up. They don’t know where to begin. We’ll even help them with a resume and teach that type of information.
“Whatever training they may need, I love doing that.”
Information: seniorcompucare.com, 888-657-2280, ext. 1 or firstname.lastname@example.org.