Senior Citizens Find Love, New World Using Technology

REDMOND, Wash., Feb. 12, 1999 — Marjorie and Dick Piaget, both age 70, first “noticed” each other in a chat room online. In September 1995 they met in person. Four months later, on Jan. 12, 1996, they eloped and informed their children of their marriage via e-mail. Their story is featured today in a segment of the “Today Show.”

Computers are helping seniors around the country explore new worlds, form new friendships and even find love. And Microsoft Corp. is helping people like Marjorie and Dick Piaget discover the exciting possibilities that technology provides.

“Seniors make up one of the fastest-growing groups of users on the Web,” said Craig Spiezle, director of the Microsoft® Senior Initiative. “They find it liberating to be able to e-mail their grandchildren and other family members, explore job opportunities and hobbies, get information about travel and health, and make new friends. Computers and the Internet are helping seniors enhance their community, creativity and employability.”

“Computers have really opened up a whole new world for us,” said Marjorie Piaget. “Thanks to computers and the Web, I don’t feel 70, I feel 40. We encourage all our friends and other seniors to get online and learn for themselves how computers can change their lives.”

In 1991, after her husband passed away, Marjorie began taking computer classes to expand her job opportunities. Dick, a retired computer worker, began using a PC in 1994 for recreational use. Over time, the two became avid computer users, communicating with family via e-mail, researching hobbies and locating lost relatives over the Internet.

“I first got to know Marge in a SeniorNet chat room,” said Dick Piaget. “Later, after exchanging e-mails, I invited her to meet in person at a local SeniorNet event.” The couple then started communicating by e-mail more often, and it soon became clear their cyber-friendship had turned into a cyber-romance.

“Marjorie and Dick’s story is just one of hundreds of real-life stories of seniors whose lives have been positively affected by technology,” said Ann Wrixon, executive director of SeniorNet. “Their story serves as an inspiration for seniors worldwide to become computer literate and get onto the information superhighway.”

Founded in 1986, SeniorNet is a nonprofit organization that provides older adults with education and access to computer technology to enhance their lives and enable them to share their knowledge and wisdom. SeniorNet teaches seniors to use computers and the Internet at more than 140 computer learning centers nationwide.

Last fall, Microsoft continued its decade-long support of SeniorNet with a software, hardware and cash grant worth over $1 million. The Microsoft Senior Initiative is committed to working with organizations such as SeniorNet to bridge the “digital divide” by helping provide seniors with access to technology and PC literacy training. Microsoft Senior Initiative programs are focused on educating people about the important role technology can play in empowering seniors, their families and their communities. The initiative’s Web site, Seniors & Technology, offers more information.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and

personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

Microsoft is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corp.

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