Young at Heart: Technology is a Fountain of Youth for Some Seniors

REDMOND, Wash., February 15, 1999 — Can senior citizens find love on the Internet? That’s exactly what happened for Marjorie and Dick Piaget, both age 70, of Wilbraham, Mass. The couple’s romantic tale of love and romance on the Web, featured this morning on the “Today Show,” shows how senior citizens can experience a second chance at life, and love, online.

“Marjorie and Dick’s story is a great example of how technology can change lives. It’s something that people of all ages can benefit from,” said Craig Spiezle, director of the Microsoft Senior Initiative, which supports older people’s use of technology to enhance their community, creativity and employability.

After her husband’s death in 1991, 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 email, researching hobbies and locating lost relatives over the Internet.

“I first noticed Marge in a SeniorNet chat room,” said Dick Piaget. “Later, after exchanging e-mails and cyber-glances, I invited her to meet in person at a local event.” The couple then started communicating by e-mail more often, learning about each other’s lives and interests. It soon became clear their cyber-friendship had turned into a cyber-romance. Less than four months later, on January 12, 1996, Marjorie and Dick eloped and e-mailed the big news to their children. Since their introduction to computers, Marjorie and Dick have met hundreds of friends and learned how to use various computer programs. They’re also encouraging their friends to get online.

The “Today Show” feature on Marjorie and Dick is just one among hundreds of real-life stories of seniors who are using computers to open new worlds, find new friendships, reunite with families across the world, and enhance their creativity and employability. Last fall, Microsoft continued its decade-long support of SeniorNet, an organization that provides older adults with education and access to computer technology and the Internet, with a software, hardware and cash grant worth more than $1 million. By supporting organizations such as SeniorNet, Microsoft is working to ensure that seniors worldwide, like Marjorie and Dick, are not left behind on the information superhighway.

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