Tom kamber harness technology Tom kamber harness technology
Podcast 435

435: Helping Aging Adults to Harness Technology and Discover More in Retirement with Tom Kamber

Today, I’m talking to Dr. Tom Kamber. Tom is the founder and executive director of Older Adults Technology Services (OATS) and Senior Planet. He is a leading expert on aging and technology and has provided award-winning programs for older adults across America.

Tom has taught courses on technology, urban studies, and philanthropy at Columbia University, is widely published in professional and academic journals, and is a co-founder of the Afro-Latin Jazz Alliance which has won multiple Grammy awards.

In our conversation, Tom and I dig into common questions retirees have about technology, how to leverage technology like AI to get more out of retirement, and some best practices to protect yourself from fraud and identity theft.

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In this podcast interview, you’ll learn:
  • Why people are so tired of talking about legacy–and why it’s making an impact that really matters.
  • The encounter with an 80-year-old woman who fell in love with dance later in life that radically shifted Tom’s perspective and practice.
  • How to address older people’s anxieties, resistance, or discomfort around new technology–and how Tom gets people over the age of 50 to participate in the Senior Planet community.
  • Why Tom believes AI has huge potential to empower seniors.
  • How to deal with common scams including identity theft, gift card fraud, stolen passwords, and relatives who are supposedly in trouble.
Inspiring Quote
  • "If you have a passion and you have some things that you've been working on, sometimes there's an interesting path that your life will take that just requires you going out and starting to talk to somebody." - Tom Kamber
  • "Know what you're trying to accomplish on some level and expect that there will be unanticipated opportunities that you can't envision until you get into it." - Tom Kamber
  • "When you get into a difficult place, difficult conversation, in many cases, I think it gives you a chance to see something that you just didn't have a lens into before that might be the next thing that you care about." - Tom Kamber
Interview Resources
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Read the Transcript


Casey Weade: If you have questions about technology in retirement, how to better leverage technology, how to stay up to date then this conversation is going to be for you today. We're also going to be talking about solving for X at the end of life. So, if you have end-of-life questions and thoughts, this is a topic that you're going to want to focus on today. Look forward to our conversation today with our guest. We have Dr. Tom Kamber. I am Casey Weade. I'm the host of Retire with Purpose Podcast and it is my mission to deliver clarity and purpose and elevate meaning in your life.

And before we get into the conversation, I want you to know what to expect moving forward if you're a new subscriber to the show. Every single week, we're getting together with you and we're talking about trending topics in the retirement planning space, both financial and non-financial. These conversations come up from our Weekend Reading for Retirees email series. That's an email that about 10,000 people subscribed to across the world and you have to subscribe to this in order to stay up to date on the latest trends. We include four articles on trending topics, a variety of different summaries and takeaways for myself, along with all kinds of other great resources, free webinars on taxes and Social Security and health care, and retirement book giveaways.

So, get yourself this resource. And if you've never subscribed before, we're going to send you a free digital copy of my Wall Street Journal bestselling book, Job Optional. And we'll also be inviting you every couple of weeks to submit questions for me to bring into these conversations, like you're going to see me do here today with Tom. Every other week, we drop a long-form podcast on Mondays, and that's what we're doing here. These long-form podcasts come to you with a variety of different topics with our world-class guests. And today that world-class guest is Dr. Tom Kamber.

Tom is the founder and executive director of OATS, Older Adults Technology Services, and he is also at Senior Planet from AARP, an Executive Director Founder there. He is a leading expert on aging and technology and is regularly featured in the national media. He's taught courses on technology, urban studies, philanthropy at Columbia University, and is widely published in professional and academic journals presenting his work on five different continents. And luckily, he's here to present it here with us today, and we're going to spread it across even more continents moving forward.


Casey Weade: With that, Tom, welcome to the show.

Tom Kamber: Thank you, Casey. I'm glad to be here.

Casey Weade: Tom, I mean, I'm excited to talk about something that's a little different. I think we've talked about end of life here on the show. And we're going to talk about that here with you today but we're also going to talk about technology, which is really not a conversation I would say that we've had at the level that we're going to have today. But before we get into technology, end-of-life, and all that really exciting stuff, I want to talk about something that is a passion of yours that is a bit unique and doesn't really show up in the area of technology, end-of-life, and retirement, and that is I understand that you are a co-founder of the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance. Looking at you here today, I'd go, "What? That is not what I would expect out of Tom Kamber.” Where did this passion come from? What's this all about?

Tom Kamber: It was a lifelong interest that I've had. I grew up in New Jersey and came to New York City in 1980s to go to college. And I realized very quickly from hearing all the sort of Caribbean beats on the street and all the cool salsa music that was going on in the neighborhoods when I was walking around that I had grown up kind of rhythm-starved in the suburbs. And so, I started just trying to check out some of the new music that was coming and got interested in Latin music as a hobby. And one thing led to another. I started listening more and then I started dancing a little bit, and I started collecting music and started dancing more in different clubs. I got into a dance troupe that was just sort of a group of people that were performing in small stages in the parks and things like that. So, I had a little phase in my life where I was really into Latin music.

And while I was doing that, I met a gentleman, Arturo O'Farrill, who was running the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra out of Lincoln Center, who was one of the resident orchestras there. And he was a big star in the Latin jazz world. And I approached him and said, “I'm a big fan. I just want to tell you how much I love your music.” And we started talking and he said, "What do you do?” I said, “I'm an expert in starting nonprofits. I teach at Columbia, and I've been starting social mission organizations for the last ten years.” And he said, “I've been interested in starting a nonprofit to support Latin jazz music.” And the next thing I knew, we were having lunch in Brooklyn and sketching out the idea for a new nonprofit to help promote Afro-Latin jazz music and preserve a lot of those old scores and arrangements that are sitting in people's closets and that are going to get lost if we don't get out there and make a library. And also teach the next generation people to play those instruments and play that club beat that's really unique to the culture.

So, Arturo and I started that nonprofit. He's not taken it off and it's been running it for I guess almost 15 years. They teach in the school system in New York. He's won six Grammys. Since then, he's become sort of a big star in the industry, who was just in San Francisco last week where his music was used by the San Francisco Ballet for one of their ballet performances. He wrote the score for it. So, it's really been an amazing experience for me and kind of one of those moments where if you have a passion and you have some things that you've been working on, sometimes there's an interesting path that your life will take that just requires you going out and start to talk to somebody.

Casey Weade: Yeah. I mean, so many of the people that we talked to, they’re kind of sick of that word, legacy. They go, “What’s legacy?” But what they really want is impact. And it seems like you've kind of cracked the code on making an impact here. And you're living a very purpose-fulfilled life in this nonprofit space. What would your advice be to someone that says, “I have interests”? Maybe it's not Afro-Latin jazz, maybe it's something else, but they have interests and they have strength, and they want to make an impact in that area. What are some of the steps that they can take to accomplish the level of impact that you're making in the world there in the Afro-Latin jazz space?

Tom Kamber: I think a lot of it requires a sort of entrepreneurial point of view on things. So often you've got these great ideas. I think there are more ideas that are floating around in people's minds and dreams that they have than there are programs that people have actually acted on. So, there's that real challenge around the commitment that you have to make where you decide one day, “I'm going to take some steps.” It's overwhelming to imagine creating an organization that's got a staff and you have to file taxes and do all of the logistics and things. But if you think about sort of staging it, so the first step would be to say, "Maybe let me go try a program in this area,” if you have a passion for urban gardening or something like that. And so, you think, "Well, how can I start something that's just a little volunteer project and I can see if I'm good at it and meet some people and make it manageable?” I think starting initiatives at a kind of discreet level where you think, "Okay, I'm going to do three months and this is a three-month plan,” and then you reassess.

And for a lot of people, it leads to another three months. And they start to find those future opportunities. And the other bit of advice I would have is, I have two but two pieces, one is know what you're trying to accomplish on some level. And so, you'll often get pulled off course a little bit. You'll have an idea and somebody will say, "Oh, well, you really should be working over in this area.” I think it's really important to understand why you're doing it and what the outcome is that you're looking to achieve. But then the last part of it is expect that there will be unanticipated opportunities that you can't envision until you get into it. When I started, all the nonprofit projects I started, I imagined from the start point that there would be a certain path. But the solutions that emerged and the opportunities that helped me get from step one to step two, first of all, there was disappointment with things and people that didn't work out, and I had to let go of that.

But the really interesting part was all sorts of people come out of the woodwork who you never met, you don't know they exist until you get started and they become the people that advance it. And those interesting little opportunities you think, "Oh, I didn't know there was a grant for this, or I didn't know there was a person doing that,” or there's some sort of giant change in the society, like a pandemic or hurricane that hits or an economic change, and suddenly your program is front and center. And so, you don't know until you're in the mix a little bit and you have to trust that some of those opportunities will emerge if you're out there sort of prospecting a little bit. And I've learned to believe in that and to have a little faith.

Casey Weade: Yeah. Well, if I were to summarize that, it's taken some baby steps. That's some low-cost probes and the Dean Niewolny Halftime Institute speak and you want individuals to have clarity in their mission, stay flexible along the way more than anything. It's like just be faithful. Just be faithful that something is going to happen.

Tom Kamber: This is a little Latin thing here but there's a cool Spanish word that means to sort of put your toe in the water and they call it ‘tantear’ which is just to kind of probe at something and see if you can feel it out. So, if you're out there, tanteando, it's kind of a little bit of a probing or a trying out thing. And I think that is a really critical thing to get good at and feel comfortable with and be okay with the failing stuff. It doesn't always work. You just move on to your next thing if it doesn't pan out. Don't get stuck with failure. I've done a million things that didn't work out, but the things that did are the ones that everybody talks about. So, here we are.

Casey Weade: And what a neat opportunity that retirees have. They have that flexibility to do more of those low-cost probes or what is it in Latin?

Tom Kamber: Tantear. T-A-N-T-E-A-R.

Casey Weade: Okay. If you're not speaking that language yet, we're going to throw it in the show notes. So, you can check it out there. But you did a little bit more than just dip your toe in the water over there at OATS. Can you talk about what the inspiration was behind Older Adults Technology Services?

Tom Kamber: Sure. I was fortunate to have a sort of career passion for social change. And I always think of that a little bit as instead of looking for success through financial return, I've always imagined sort of what's the next thing in my life where I can see some social return? I figure there's enough money to keep ourselves alive out here but, particularly, I feel rich if I can make a difference. So, I was working in the housing field in my 20s and got a PhD in housing policy and felt like I had kind of gotten as much down that direction as I was going to be able to. And then 9/11 happened in New York City. And I started working on an economic development project in lower Manhattan, where the neighborhoods were really devastated but, of course, the building that fell, the World Trade Center, damaged one part of lower Manhattan but the rest of the community was still there.

And so, they were working to bring people back down to lower Manhattan to get those businesses started again, reestablish the residential community, start to build more of the social fabric. And so, I was working on that as a passion project at that time. And we launched a website to help people find out about businesses and things called Voices of Lower Manhattan. And when we did the web launch, I got a phone call from an older woman named Pearl. She was about 80 years old and she said, "My name is Pearl and I want to come to this party that I saw on a flier about the party, but I don't really know what the web is. And I don't know if I would feel I'd be really welcome. I mean, I'm not sure if I'm allowed to come to something like that.” And I said, “Pearl, you've got to come to the party. This is really important. Come and I'll teach you anything you need to know about technology. Don't be afraid.”

So, she shows up and we started talking and kind of hit it off, and she agreed to come to my office to be a volunteer so that I could volunteer with her and teach a little bit. I said, “I'll give you a class, and I'll teach how to use the web.” So, 8:00 in the morning on the next Monday, she's at my office with her breakfast wrapped up in a napkin. And, I say, "Okay. Pearl, I want you to sit down here, look at this website, take the mouse, and I want you to point to that box up there.” And she takes the mouse and she picks the mouse up off the desk and is pointing it at the screen. And I'm thinking, "Oh, boy, okay, this is not what I was… We got to back up a little bit here.” And so, Pearl and I used to meet every Monday at 8:00 in the morning for a year. And every Monday, I would sit with her. We work on skills together and that she was having a great time learning all this technology and she got a bus shelter in front of her building as a result of that, and she was registering people to vote in her senior residence.

But the real secret was that I was getting this sort of immersion of learning about aging and about older people and how they interact with technology and about the kinds of change that were really relevant in her life. And so, I got excited about the social impact possibilities of that. You've got the longevity revolution taking place right in front of us where it may be a little bit invisible at times, but we are adding more years to the human lifespan in the last 50 years than in any time in human history before that. So, we have this kind of landscape of aging that we're kind of filling in with the sort of life patterns, we might call it the plants. And then, on the other hand, you've got the technology revolution, which is all of these resources and assets and solutions but there's obviously a convergence of aging and technology.

There are two big trends you might call it megatrends. For people that are around in the 70s, there was a book called Megatrends. And these two big trends are touching each other. And what a great opportunity to create a social impact organization, to try to live in that space and help people find better ways to live together. So, I started out. So, Pearl was there when I did and she was cheering me on and helped me with the ideas and meeting people. And we got up and started in 2004, and this is our 20th year. Pearl passed away a few years back but we spent a lot of time together over the years, and she was really an inspiration at our office in Brooklyn. The network is called Pearl.

Casey Weade: Oh, wow. That's so cool.

Tom Kamber: So, all of our information flows through something that's inspired by her.

Casey Weade: That's amazing. You know, again, what a great legacy that she was able to leave behind throughout. Yeah.

Tom Kamber: And one thing I learned from there, which was really interesting, I was giving her a hard time one day. I was dancing during that time but she was also dancing. She was taking folk dancing classes. And so, one day she had to leave our lesson early because she had a folk dancing class at the YMCA. And I was just asking her about it being obnoxious. And she grabbed me by the arm and she looked and she said, “I just want to tell you, Tom, that I am so happy to be taking dance classes now at almost 80 years old,” and she said, "When I was younger, I would never have taken dance classes because I didn't feel good about my body. But now that I'm old, I feel free to do that.” And I'll tell you, that changed almost everything for me because it allowed me to understand that as we get older, there's no reason that we shouldn't be looking forward to that being the best part of our lives.

And I was so trained to think that aging is a bad thing, that we should run away from it, that we should be looking with pessimism about these years of our lives that I haven't had to really recognize that you can choose how you look at it, you can choose how you think about these years. And Pearl was just looking forward to the next thing. And so, that really inspired me when I started. And it's really still been part of our ethos within our organization that we're passionate about aging as a kind of a landscape of opportunity, a place where people are thriving. That's not to say we're not aware that people are sick or that people have poverty issues or that there are physical concerns and things. But so many times when we open our eyes in the right way, what we're finding is some really inspiring and exciting possibilities for us. And Pearl was the first time, first person who ever really opened me up to that.

Casey Weade: When you look at that generation or if we rewind the clock 20 years ago, I felt like there was a wider prevalence of that type of gap that you would see in the technology space. Now, do you see that same level of gap today with the baby boomer generation, given that it's now truly such a necessity of life?

Tom Kamber: The gap has changed in its format but I think it's still there. So, when we started in 2004, there was really that the issue was people just being online at all. At that time, I remember the Pew Institute for American Studies does a tri-annual survey of technology use for people. And it's a pretty good tracking tool. You can find it on their website that shows the sort of participation rates in different kinds of technology, and they track by age. At that time in 2004, only 26% of people over the age of 65 had ever been on the internet. So, three-quarters of older people had never been online. And the younger population, it was more like 90% had been online. And so, you had this real split. Today, the concept of digital participation has closed. And virtually all older people have actually been on the internet in some shape or form.

But what's interesting is, if all we were trying to solve for was just have people been on the internet then our work is done and we can all go home, right? And that's great. We solved that problem and it's been equalized. But as you look at the way technology is evolving, what's really happening is that it's a series of innovations that every year, every day there's somebody creating some new technology innovation out there. I go to the Consumer Electronics Show every year, and we walk through all of those gigantic exhibit halls in Las Vegas. There's I think 300,000 people go there. And there is booth after booth after the booth of virtual reality, IA programming, mobility tools, wearables, Wi-Fi-enabled programs. This year they have televisions that are see-through, so you can literally there's like a window and then it turns on and there's a television there.

So, there's just a million different innovations that are happening. And what's going on is as those innovations take place, older people as a demographic are faced with choices around what to adopt. And it's not that older adults are not adopting technology, but historically we have been late adopters, which means there's a sort of curve to it. There are some people that wait in line when the thing is sold for the first time. They're there for the Apple Watch and they have the first one in the block. And then there's the sort of middle of the bell curve where you get the average consumer, like me, that once everybody else has got one, I'll probably go get it and start using it if it seems relevant to my life. And then there's the folks that are a little bit resistant or anxious about it, who disproportionately are over the age of 60. So, what you've got happening is there's a demographic of older adults who are typically a little bit behind the adoption curve on almost all of these new technologies, and there's a need, there's a kind of rolling need every year to create more awareness and more support to bring that group a little closer to the mainstream.

Otherwise, the group that's not adopting is they're going to show up at a restaurant, they don't know how to use the QR code to look at the menu or they want to file their taxes and they're confused by the digital interface, and they have to go pay extra money for somebody to come do it in person, or they want to be able to use online banking to check their accounts and things like that but they're suffering because the interface of it and the technology of it is a barrier. And then they’re disadvantaged to be able to manage their money. So, our social mission is to try to close that adoption gap. And that's what we've been seeing. And that adoption gap is persistent. We've been doing research since we started at OATS and every year it's a little different quality, a little different set of issues, but there's always technology that people need to learn that they are coming to learn at Senior Planet, and we can teach them for free. So, the mission is still here.

Casey Weade: You've mentioned a lot of these short-term impacts. That's how I view them anyways. So, a little bit more tactical in nature. Well, great. I can use the QR code now or I can log in to my bank account. I can send an email or maybe I can even leverage some artificial intelligence to help me write an email or write a book, whatever that might be. When you think about OATS on a broader perspective, that big, hairy, audacious goal for OATS, what is the true long-term impact and broader impact that you hope that OATS is making in the world?

Tom Kamber: Wow. The larger impact that we're after is really making, I'm an optimist about designing a better society for people. Everything is sort of artificial in the modern world, right? All of our built environment, our social engagement, the things that we're doing, all things that we're creating. But there's a lot of data to show that people are pretty unhappy. People feel the country is going in the wrong direction and they feel unhappy about their social environment. There's pile up high rates of depression and unhappiness, mental illness and things like that, that are things that we're struggling with. And we're always looking for leverage points to sort of turn that around a little bit. There are people that are building. Every community has people that are building positive environments for each other that are neighborhood associations, civic organizations, religious institutions where people are trying to help each other and build something more positive.

When I look at aging, I think of that as an area where we can showcase things that are working well or can work better to inspire other people to follow as an example. So, the broader case, for example, is that there's a general tendency for people to be uncomfortable about aging. Ageism is one of the last, I think, accepted biases that is sort of commonplace. I think, 50 years from now, people will look back on how ageless our society is, and they will be shocked. They really will be shocked. I was in Miami a couple of weeks ago, and I'm driving around and there are shops that have signs up that say, "Anti-Aging Services.” And I understand that what they really mean is that there are cosmetic services to help people look a little bit more attractive. But the way it's framed is we're trying to make you look like you're not aging. And that, to me, is a very biased, a very stereotypical, and a very negative outlook on a whole… You want to talk about a big, audacious goal. As a society, we're still really looking down on that whole period of our lives and by definition, also by the people who are living through it.

And so, I think that our work as we flip that circuit a little bit, as we flip the lens, by talking about technology and aging in a more positive way, and investing in it, designing programs that are best of class, that people would look at that program and say, "Wow. I wasn't expecting it to be this good.” And then you can sit down and say, "Why not?” Was it because it was designed for older people that you think that they should get something that's crummy, that is like in the back of somebody’s garage? Why not have something that looks fantastic, that is really celebrating the creativity, the passion of people so that we can get people to think, "Oh, yeah this whole demographic of older people, thank God we've activated the seniors in our community because they're the ones who are bringing people together, starting new businesses, volunteering for the local schools, coming up to doing community meetings and finding ways to work together.

So, seeing our planet that we've created is meant to be that kind of influence in the whole scope of aging. And I think that as we look back on it 20 years or 50 years from now, I think we'll be able to see that we've made a little bit of difference.

Casey Weade: Yeah. I mean, one of our big priorities here is amplifying the wisdom of this generation. And I see one of the things that you're doing there is you're making that possible. I think part of the ageism in society is just the muting of the wisdom because we don't have that generation maybe quite as capable in the technology space as if they were, they would be more able to hold those positions in society where they could use their influence and really amplify the wisdom that they have in the world and avoid getting drowned out by technology.

Tom Kamber: That's right. I'll tell you a very funny little anecdote here. In my background, it says Senior Planet, Miami, which is a center that we just launched about a month ago in Miami. We built a technology center for older people to come and take free classes and do projects together. And when we looked at a place to situate the new facility, we picked the Wynwood neighborhood, which is where all of the murals and the graffiti art is and where all the tech companies are coming to invest. And it's seen as the kind of the nightlife and the creative capital of Miami that sort of center, that people are investing in. And I'll tell you, every single person who I've talked to, every interview with media when we launched that center, they said, “Why Wynwood? Why are you putting a senior center in Wynwood?” And we said, "Precisely because you're asking this question because it's pushing people to say, ‘This is the most visible part of Miami right now.’”

If people come to visit on a cruise ship or from Austin, Texas to go check out Miami, they're all going to Wynwood to check it out. And now they're going to Wynwood and seeing older people creating and learning with technology, we got a giant mural on the front of the building with an older adult that's a famous activist and people are in there learning. And we have a podcast center in the center where people can come and do their own podcasting. And we're talking about amplifying the voices of people from the community so that we can be more visible, that we can get up there and take that space and say, "Hey, let's listen to something a little different from what you've been listening to before. Maybe there's something here for you.”

Casey Weade: Yeah. I was going to save some of the technology questions we had from our Weekend Reading subscribers until later, but I think this is just a perfect time, especially because you mentioned the Senior Planet there and what's happening there in a physical way. And one of the questions we had from Dwayne is, and Dwayne, thanks for your question. He said the Senior Planet website offers. You talk about the physicality of it here but he's talking about the Senior Planet website offering a lot of resources and a wide breadth of topics that are easy to access. “How does Mr. Kamber and his staff get seniors to take the first step to access these resources and participate in this community?” Yeah. And I think we often are asking ourselves that question. Dwayne might not really be asking himself this question but thinking about a parent or grandparent. How do we get them to take that first step to access resources, get excited about participating in a community like this?

Tom Kamber: That's a great question. I think there's a few elements of it. First of all, from our side as providers or producers of experiences for older people, we need to take out the friction from the first step. We need to make it easy for people to start. And the way that we've done that at Senior Planet is said, "Anybody over the age of 50 is eligible to participate right now, regardless of any other demographic.” You can be high-income, low income. You can live anywhere. You can be an American citizen or not. We don't really care. If you're over 50 and you want to come do some tech stuff with us, the door is open. The classes are starting. The program is here. If you want to take a course at Senior Planet this afternoon, go right on and do it. There's even younger people that sneak into the classes and participate online. We know that you're there. We don't care. It's great that people are learning and that they're orienting themselves as older people are thinking about it from that point of view.

So, one is to make it easy for people to get through the door in the first place. And secondly, create world-class experiences. You make sure that the programs are well designed. We've got a team of curriculum experts led by folks in PhDs that are doing this stuff, but we're also working with older people themselves to make those programs to prioritize the relevant initiatives that we're actually addressing things that people care about. I think that helps a lot. And then when we're talking to folks that are coming in, a lot of it is to get people just to see it and to be visible with it. There's a really interesting researcher guy named Everett Rogers, who was from the Midwest, and he used to write about corn crop innovations, which is a very bizarre topic. But he was finding that he had all of these disease-resistant corn crops that were much more profitable for farmers when they started growing these new seeds. But other farmers were not using the seeds. And the question is, why do the other farmers not take the first step? Like, what is keeping them on the sidelines when there's obviously something to benefit from trying something new?

And he studied it, and he found that one of the things that made a real difference was what he called observability. And it's what it sounds like. If they could see the other corn with their eyeballs and it was obviously growing better than their crop, they would try it. But if you came and told them about it and they were on the other side of the county and they didn't get to see it, they wouldn't try it. And it sounds incredibly obvious but you physically have to get somebody to stand there and look at it, and if they'll see it, it immediately changes the way that we think about it. It makes a difference cognitively and it affects our kind of cognitive processing in a way that neuroscientists have actually identified as meaningful. And you're much more likely to try it once you're there. Actually, it makes you more likely. So, taking that first step of physically going somewhere and getting into the space or going on to a Senior Planet class and just looking at it.

We have a class. It's at 10:00 Eastern time every Monday through Friday called Morning Stretch. It's about 500 people every day. People go in there, they do the workout together and there's an extra like 20 minutes at the end of class, and everybody talks to each other in a kind of freeform chat. And being able to see that allows the person to say like, "Okay. This is something I want to check out.” By the way, it doesn't have to be for everybody. If you check it out, you want to do it. I'm all for people making choices and some people don't want the technology. I'm all for supporting that as well but give it a try. Get your eyeballs on it and that will often get people over that threshold.

Casey Weade: And we've experienced these people. I know I have and I know others have as well that say, “I'm not a tech person.” I don't want anything to do with tech. It's bad stuff. They just have a negative view of the world of technology or maybe there's some fear in there as well. And I love that. It's all about observability. Illustrate to them. Let them watch you work with technology so that they can see the benefits and how that might apply to them themselves. And I think that's a good lead-in to our next question from Cynthia, which is, "What's a realistic strategy and a goal for someone in their 80s who is intimidated by technology?” I like this question because it's very much structured in the way that I would ask a question about, okay, what kind of goals should I have? Yeah. What's the goal that I should have around technology? And then once I get that goal, what's the strategy that I should have for accomplishing it?

Tom Kamber: I think it's exactly the right question to be asking. When we are exploring technology, first of all, I'm not a tech. It's funny, I've been running a nonprofit for technology stuff for the last 20 years, but I don't think of myself as a technology guy. In fact, I think of myself as a social change and an experiential guy. And what seems to make a difference for people when they're using tech is picking a purpose that they have a passion around. So, for example, I'll give you a real simple example. I love plants and gardening and there's an app that you can get it from your phone called PictureThis that allows you to open up the app and point it at any plant, anywhere, that you go. You could go to a plant store. You could be waiting for the bus and there's a tree that you think is kind of cool looking, and you just take an image of that and it will tell you what that plant is and what the Latin name is and where it grows and things like that.

And it's a neat little app that does a very specific thing that allows you to understand the world of flora that way and be able to appreciate botany, but also for people who are really interested in gardening. It has a very immediate practical purpose that gets you using a piece of technology that you can get good at and you enjoy using, right? And once you get good with one piece of tech that is in an area that you really enjoy working, it can be maybe some people have Fitbits, which is a way of monitoring your fitness level and keeping track of your steps. That's super popular for older people. Just pick one thing that does anything that you want to do and start using that the way that you want to accomplish something and take the time to learn it. Because once you get one piece of technology that you're working with, there's transferable skills, other pieces kind of like a language. If you learn how to talk about cooking and you start to develop some vocabulary and then somebody wants to talk about transportation or travel, some of those words will transfer over and start you learning that new set of topics in a more successful way.

Technology is very much like a language. So, just think of something you like to talk about, get good at it, get some sort of wins under your belt, and try it. And if you don't like it and it's not working, pick something else. Don't get stuck on things that don't go well. Just because it's technology, doesn't mean it's not like the rest of the world. If you don't like something that you're trying, move on to the next thing. Don't hang up on the tech. It can be a pain, but it's not that bad.

Casey Weade: Yeah. What I like about that is I think it's something that so many people are overlooking are the parallels with technology in real life. So, you could have an interest in virtually anything today, and there's some type of technology tool that can elevate your experience in whatever area that is, if it's botany or fitness, etcetera. Yeah. And this I think we're getting into a space now where we have a generation of retirees that some are very technologically inclined. I mean, we have computer programmers that we're helping step into retirement now, right? There are people that have these skills. And I had a question from Pat about this. Someone that has a skill wants to know how to leverage it. He said, “I've had a career in information technology and now I'm getting ready for retirement. Do you have any suggestions for good ways to leverage my technology skills to help others in retirement on a volunteer basis?”

Tom Kamber: Now, that's a tougher question but I'll tell you why because the issue with technology skills is they are kind of two different levels of them. There's the business-related high-tech skills, which are often in the programming space or the technology planning space. And those skills are very secularly relevant. So, I have a contact that tests cable systems where they do the cable transmissions in the boxes on the poles and that's the technology expertise level that I don't have. But I've watched them do it and it's amazing what they can do with the technology skills they have. But in retirement, those skills don't obviously transfer into another sphere very well. And so, the challenge, of course, is if you want to do something sort of socially purposeful with that, you almost have to forget your expertise level and relearn how to talk to people about tech in a more personal way, which requires very different communication skills than some sort of engineering-oriented people have.

The reason I'm raising it this way is that a lot of tech experts want to go tutor high school kids or they want to teach older people. They’re like, “I'm a technology expert. Please let me go teach your tech class.” But then they get in front of a group of people who have all sorts of questions about like, "What is a USB port?” And they get frustrated because the level of conversation is not really that technologically sophisticated, even though the impact is very powerful. And so, they have to kind of recalibrate from the social and impact side to be able to talk about the work and have fun with that and work on patience and work on collaboration. We always say whatever you do, don't take the mouse out of the person's hand because the tech experts often want to let go and go, “Let me just do that for you,” and you say, "No, no, no.” If you're learning to use tech for an impact standpoint, you have to learn how to know that you know a lot of stuff about it, but almost put that on a shelf during the time that you're working with other people unless the actual skills you're teaching are the old the stuff that you did in your profession, which case, obviously, you're back in that modality.

But I think that translation social dynamic is actually tricky for a lot of tech experts who come in and they're mystified because they show up on our doorstep. We want to teach classes. We have to retrain them to be super patient and have fun with people failing at it. I mean, we had a gentleman, Richard, who came to our sessions and he was a laborer as his career. And he retired with a union pension and he came to Senior Planet to take our basic class. Took the basic class and the next calendar quarter came around. My trainer came back and said, “Richard is back.” And I said, "Great.” And he said, "He wants to take the basic class again.” And I said, "He already took a basic class.” He said, "Well, he wants to take it again.” So, I went to talk to him. He said. “I got a lot more out of it the second time.” He said, “I was a laborer.” He said, "All this stuff, all this typing into Word, it's all new to me.” So, he actually took that basic class three times and he got something out of it each time.

It would drive me crazy to do that if I was like a tech expert and I was like, "How are you not getting all the tech skills?” He came to me at the end and he said, "This is the best thing I have going out of my retirement.” This is what it's about. He said, “I'm loving this,” because you're working at his level with him and the thing that he wants to be doing. So, you have to really think about it from the point of view of the person you're serving. You have to think about it from a design standpoint and from a customer service standpoint that’s a very different orientation for some people.

Casey Weade: Yeah. It's really good guidance. You know, we have a couple of different questions here on identity theft. So, I'm going to try to lump those questions into one. And we also had questions obviously on the biggest trend today, which is AI. So, let's kick it off there first. We had a question from John asking about AI. “How is AI influencing seniors and technology? Is there an example of where does having a positive impact, as opposed to the more negative influences we seem to hear about through the media?”

Tom Kamber: Love it. It is having a positive impact for a lot of folks who are doing, and who are starting to use some of these tools to, first of all, it's kind of like Google on steroids, right? So, it's allowing people to do searches and do research in a more natural language way that's enabling them to get results that are more meaningful for them. So, a lot of people, when they try to type stuff into Google, they'll spell things wrong or they'll get the kind of things that are, they can't get the search terms right. And you get a lot of gobbledygook back. When you're working with some of the open AI tools, you can, first of all, they're much more conversational in your prompts and your input. So, you can say, “I want to…” I'm currently interested in Congolese music. This is my music background, but I could say, "Give me a 250-word essay of the most popular Congolese music styles with an example of each of the most successful musicians in each style." And then it will spit that back at me, and I'll then take those responses and I'll go listen to them on Spotify, right?

Well, back in the day, Google doesn't do that for you. The general traditional search engine won't do that. So, for older adults who are often grappling and struggling a little bit with some of those interfaces in the first place, the natural language elements of AI are actually creating an onramp, and they're making it much easier for people that were struggling. So, there is a kind of like a softening of the beginner's curve in terms of the early adopters. I think that's very meaningful. Secondly, it's really helping people who are on the lower end of the language proficiency scale. So, listen, I have a PhD. I taught at Columbia for 16 years, yada, yada. So, I'm supposed to be at the top end of the scale. But there's a lot of folks out here who are English is not their first language. They may be dyslexic. They may not have the verbal skills that they just don't have that talent. And they are disadvantaged because of that because they can't communicate like I was trained to do, right? Well, AI has now leveled up the playing field. So, if I'm trying to write an email for work and somebody next to me is writing an email that five years ago might have sounded a little halting or not communicating well, now they're using AI to draft that email. It's coming out looking a lot like what I would produce.

So, it's created a lot of equality for older people. Many of them, by the way, if you look at the statistics, the group of Americans who has the highest likelihood of not graduating from high school are people over 80. Because back in the day, a lot of people didn't graduate from high school and college was not a normal thing for everybody. And so, that cadre of folks that are in their advanced years in America right now, many of that cohort of older people don't have the educational backgrounds that enable them to be as proficient with some of the language. Well, AI is now giving them a leg up and equalizing their communications, at least digitally, so that they can basically just start a business. And a lot of people that are older are starting businesses right up into their 80s. You can write up those documents using AI. So, it's really an equalizer for people. I think there's a real opportunity here for older people to use those tools to live more successfully and accomplish their goals.

Casey Weade: Yeah. I never thought about it from that perspective but it's so true. I see others that there is a skill to using Google. I mean, you have to know how to use Google, but I see those that are struggling with it, they're still thinking it's Ask Jeeves, right? They're posting it in as a question. There's too many words. There's not enough keywords, right? And OpenAI definitely cuts through a lot of that. Yeah. I wanted to talk about identity theft but I invited you on to make sure we talked about your Next Avenue article. So, boy, we have to get to that. Let me table some of those other questions that we have and move on over to the Solving for X at the End of Life article that you had in Next Avenue. Because I just found this so interesting. Rather than just throwing it in our Weekend Reading email, I really wanted to invite you on and talk about it. So, let's talk about this. And I know we can bring so there's technology elements to this article. So, there's a lot of technology involved and end-of-life care and end-of-life planning. So, I'm sure we can make it tie in real well with the conversation that we've been having but let's talk about the title of the article, Solving for X at the End of Life. What is the X at the end of life?

Tom Kamber: You know, I think when you do these sorts of calculations of, I mean, I was thinking about it as a sort of mathematical challenge that you've got all these numbers floating around. You're trying to come up with an answer, in algebra, and the X is always the thing that, at the end of recalibrating, moving your numbers around, X is the thing where you come up with some kind of an answer for yourself. And I found that when I had been personally affected by watching some people and my neighbors and family members and friends who passed away and as they were getting word their last days, they were expressing increasing anxiety about not knowing how to handle it. And it wasn't so much that they were in pain in that moment. It wasn't so much that they were exactly afraid of death, but they felt unprepared for the process. And so, I felt like they were trying to sort of manager, you know, handle all of these issues of dynamics but they didn't have any way of organizing them to come out with any kind of answer that gave them a little bit of guidance.

And so, I started trying to do a process. I knew a good friend of mine, Cynthia Roy, ran a hospice in Connecticut, called Regional Hospice. And because we do design thinking work at Senior Planet and we work around using technology to sort of visualize how older people can get older and succeed at it, there's a natural extension of thinking about end-of-life processes. Like, this is a really important area of aging that really affects us even as younger people because we have to start thinking about estate planning and getting a will together and making living wills and how we want to handle things, God forbid, something could even happen to us unexpectedly. So, the end of life is always a little bit looming around. And as you get older, it's obviously a little bit larger and a little bit closer. So, I felt that there was really an opportunity here for looking into the unknown on this one, being comfortable that we don't know the answer until we start asking some questions, we start asking, what are people going through? What's important to them? What's currently being offered? And what else can we do better?

And so, I asked if I could go interview people that were dying that were at the hospice in Connecticut, and I wasn't sure what they would say, and neither was Cynthia but she went around the hospice and said, “I've got this guy, Tom Kamber, that does kind of design programming for social impact. Would you be interested in helping him think through some end-of-life issues?” And like half the people in the hospice wanted to talk to me. It was wild and they were perfectly happy to have this guy come in with a notebook and say things like, "How's it going today?” And they're like on literally their deathbed and they're saying, “Today is not such a bad day.” And I was able to sort of ask those open-ended questions and create a process around not knowing the answer but knowing that there were some ways of reformulating the question that we might come up with some useful ideas.

Casey Weade: So, that X is really what we all want in our unique way at the end of life. And you say that often we're failing that exam. Are we failing that exam because we're not defining X or we're not able to solve for X?

Tom Kamber: I think it's both. I think really what we're feeling is people aren't really addressing it. You know, some of these topics have what a friend of mine calls the ick factor. They're just uncomfortable for people. It's difficult for people to think about dying for ourselves or even for our loved ones. And so, there's this tendency to put it off and to not grapple with it because it feels uncomfortable for us. And so, on the first side, we don't really ask ourselves what's important, what do I want? And it's a simple question, really. When we did the interviews, what we came away with was, "What kind of person are you? What kind of life do you live?” I mean, these are not, like tiny little edge questions. These are main, major, central questions. “Who are you and what's important to you?” And then how do you transfer that into, "How do you want to die?”

And so, I interviewed a woman named Edith who died the day that I interviewed her. She passed away that afternoon, and I was there in the morning, and I said, "What's important to you?” And she said, “The most important thing to me is to be fair to everybody.” And it turned out that Edith had been the kind of matriarch of this clan of people. She had maybe 25 family members who all were surrounding her in her community, and she was the one who took care of everybody. She was the one that made sure college applications got made, that the kids had clothes to go to school, that there were big meals on the weekends where everybody's birthdays got remembered. She was the center of all that. And the problem was that everybody kind of wanted a little bit of a piece of Edith. And as she was getting ready to pass away, she was trying to balance everybody's desire to talk to her and need something from her. And it was interesting because as kind of the head of the family, she was always balancing those needs and making sure that everybody got taken care of.

And in her last days, she was balancing those needs in her funeral planning and making sure that everybody got taken care of, that somebody had a role, making sure that the gravesite was set up, and somebody else had a role dealing with the priest, and somebody else had a role. And she said she didn't want to burden anybody. So, she picked out her own dress, which was purple, and she had it laid out on her bed, and she was ready to die that way. But the point was, there was continuity between the way she was as a person and how she planned her passing. And I think a lot of the extra people is they don't stop and say, "Who am I? And how do I want to go through this process?” And then make sure that that's what happens. And instead, if you don't make a choice, others will choose for you. And so, then it becomes your doctor, your priest, or whichever random family member steps up at that moment, which might not be the person who you want running the process.

So, it's really important for people to get a little bit ahead of the curve and just take some time and think about, "How am I wanting to go through this and having intentionality?” And that was one of the big gaps that I think we heard a lot when we did the interviews. I interviewed probably 20 people. A lot of them said, "Geez, I wish I had thought about this earlier, and I wish I had been more assertive.” You know, there were several people that said, "Geez, I'm kind of stuck here with my sisters dealing with all of this, but I would have rather that it was my friend who lives in Georgia,” but she kind of stepped aside when the team got assembled and he didn't get it the way he wanted it. And that could be very frustrating for people to feel like this is your last month on earth. You kind of should get what you want.

Casey Weade: And where does OATS fit into this picture, though? What do you hope that comes out of this? And what kind of things will OATS be doing to move things forward?

Tom Kamber: Well, we have so much passion around this topic as a result of talking to folks about it, that it was actually a conversation a few years ago that we would add it as an impact area. So, we measure our outcomes based on things like health and wellness and financial security, different areas that we want to see social impact. And we often hear older people come in and say this is an area that they're unprepared for. It's an area where a little bit of technology goes a long way and started to answer certain questions. So, you can ask somebody, for example, they're very simple technical questions about digital legacy. What do you want to happen to all of your social media accounts when you pass away? How are you handling your financial and other assets as you approach end of life? Have you made an end-of-life plan? Do you have a will or a trust for things like that with your financial planning? Have you assigned any of your data to a data vault? There are companies that you can put your data and your critical information into what they call a vault.

Presidio is a company we've worked with at times but there's a whole bunch that do this. And you can actually assign a person who would be the sort of caretaker of that in the event that you're incapacitated or you pass away so that they have access to your will and estate, and other documents that you may want to have kind of cleaned up as you get closer to end of life. So, as you're asking those questions, one of the areas that we identified with the end-of-life research we're doing was that the first thing people said was logistics. Like, if you can't deal with the logistics, it's really bothering you that you don't have your legal affairs in order. And it becomes very difficult to focus on what your legacy might be or how you want to experience your last days because you're hanging up on the fact that there's a lot of undone things that feel critical. So, the technology questions become often are the first ones. And then as you resolve some of the tasks that are associated with that, all of the other stuff, it becomes more present and things that you can focus on more organically.

Some of those are not technology questions at all. They’re spiritual. There were folks that I talked to that were spending a lot of time at the chapel. There was a gentleman who was very religious that I spoke to and his wife had passed away and his kind of purpose for living had really changed because he had been a caretaker for her. And he just really wanted more of a quiet, contemplative passing. But it took them a while to get there because he was managing, getting his house dealt with as he was trying to figure out who was going to get it and how it was going to get transferred.

Casey Weade: For me, I think the most impactful conversations that I've had in my life have been with clients in large part. And I've had the opportunity to discuss life with thousands of people, and those tend to have a pretty big impact on the way I look at life and the decisions that I made. And you had these conversations. You've had more. How did this research impact your life and the way that you're planning for the future?

Tom Kamber: Well, aside from making me want to go out in wealth and make some actual plans around it because there were the practicalities, the thing that was most surprising about this entire experience was how uplifting it was. Again, I remember telling some. And that's where it overlaps, though. It's a little bit, when I first told people I was working with senior citizens, I was in my thirties, and I had friends that were like, "Why would you want to work with senior citizens? That's a lot of old people,” which immediately got me all frisky about the ageism that was implied. I started sort of arguing with people, but I eventually got comfortable with the notion that we have to turn some of these things around a little bit and realize that this is sort of some of the most beautiful parts of our lives where, as we are addressing things that it might be challenging or uncomfortable, in many cases, it opens people up.

And so, I would drive up to Connecticut and interview folks and come back with a notebook half filled with thoughts and notes. And I would wake up or be thinking the next day about what a fascinating conversation that was. I remember this gentleman that I was talking about whose wife passed away. He had a bowling pin in his living room that had some painting on it. I asked him about it. He said, “Oh.” I said, "What is that?” He said, "Well, I bowled a 300 once.” And I was like, “You bowled a 300?” Like, nobody bowls a 300. People talk about it but nobody actually does it. He was part of a bowling league and he took out his clips and he had the most phenomenal stories about being part of a bowling league in New Rochelle, New York. And he was kind of a hero in this world of people that went out and did stuff together. And I found that getting to know him, getting to process that a little bit. And then I went back and was thinking about it.

And I have a bunch of academic background around civic participation and how our social environments are constructed. And there's a very famous article by a guy named Robert Putnam, this Harvard professor, talking about civic America and how we can learn to trust each other better. And the book is called Bowling Alone. Because it turns out that bowling leagues were sort of a very commonplace thing in the 50s. And now today, we don't really bowl in leagues as much. It's much more something that you do by yourself or on a date. And he's trying to track what that means in terms of social participation. So, getting a chance to think about just to talk to somebody who was really weeks away from the end of their life was awful also because it kind of opens up this intensity of let's talk about something that matters. Instead of saying like, "What did you watch on TV last week?” It's like, "What's that bowling pin?” And he was all ready to talk about it and then backing up and kind of having a larger lens about what this means in terms of my mission in life. Like, if I'm out here helping people participate in groups, can I have a meaning that way?

So, those, for example, we started a thing called Senior Planet Community, which is kind of a social media experience, a social connection opportunity for people to be able to join together into these interest groups. And I noticed a lot of men have a hard time participating in social engagement. And so, we started the thing on Senior Planet Community called the Man Cave. And we have like a thousand people that are part of this Man Cave group that like share men's topics and talk to each other about stuff. And we started to create some community around that. It's almost like we've got a little modern version of that bowling league dynamic going on. And I learned about that from talking about death. I'm talking to people about what was important to them in the last days. And so, when you get into a difficult place, difficult conversation, in many cases, I think it gives you a chance to see something that you just didn't have a lens into before that might be the next thing that you care about.

Casey Weade: That’s beautiful. I know we're running close to the end of our time here but let me just, if I can, I know this is important. I want to serve Roy and Charles here in the way of their questions around identity theft and things like this. I mean, it's important for us to talk about it because I feel like this is, yes, it's becoming a bigger issue but I think it's also becoming a bigger concern with the generation of people that we're working with, where they're concerned about identity theft. They want to know, should they purchase identity theft insurance? What's the role of VPNs? Can they protect me? What about two-factor authentication? You know, what about SIM cards and cell phones? And just maybe answer this question by kind of addressing the issue of identity theft and some of the steps that you're advising people to take in this area.

Tom Kamber: Absolutely. I think identity theft and fraud against older people is rampant. I mean, the risk of fraud and financial loss is very significant. And unfortunately, people that are perpetrating these scams are disproportionately targeting older people. So, it is almost a demographic challenge for folks. So, I do think we have to be more careful. What that means is the simplest thing I always tell people is take all the commonsense skills that I'm hoping that you're developing or have developed in the real world, the flesh and blood world, and transfer that common sense into the digital world. So, if somebody walked up to you on the sidewalk and said, "Oh, you dropped $100,” you'd be suspicious, right? Or somebody walked up to you on the sidewalk and said, "Can I see your Social Security number?” You'd be suspicious. So, when you're online, you need to use the same level or even a little bit more caution that people may be trying to take advantage of you.

And that means if somebody calls you and they're contacting you first, that's immediately something to be concerned about. If you don't know who they are and they end up in your inbox, it's a chance that that's a scam or a fraud and learning some of those basic skills is important. At Senior Planet, we teach classes on staying safe online. We have partners, 400 partner sites around the country that are also teaching those courses. We also have a hotline on Senior Planet. If you go to, there's a phone number right at the top of the first page right there in front of your face. Call the hotline if you have a question and say, "This might be a scam. Can you help me investigate it a little bit?” and we will for free sit with you on the phone and help you look into that and see if it is a fraud. AARP has huge resources around fraud prevention and has been talking about those gift card frauds. There's scammers out.

Casey Weade: We had a question on the gift card threads. Yes.

Tom Kamber: There are scammers that will call and say that they've got, you know, they're talking to some relative of yours. They figure out you've got a grandson or a cousin or whatever, and that that person's in trouble and needs you to send the money. So, there's a lot of these scammers out there. Learn to have that extra little layer of defense and then use appropriate tools, right? Virtually, everybody should learn how to manage their passwords these days. There's password managing applications. They’re very popular. They’re very effective. I typically say try the mainstream stuff that most people are using. They're usually pretty decent. Learn about basic things like two-factor authentication, which just means if you're on the computer, they'll often ask you to use your phone to put a code in that makes you more protected. And learn about digital hygiene. Don't use one password across 50 different environments because if it ever gets picked up or hacked somewhere, they've got your password for everything else. So, change those passwords and make sure that you're managing that information.

And frankly, also be aware most fraud comes from somebody you know. And so, just because you're online doesn't mean it's not your son or your daughter or your cousin, your neighbor who is often stealing your actual cash. And it doesn't just go through digital channels. It's an entire environment that we need to be a little bit more alert. I think learning the online banking skills are really important. So, for example, I have my bank set up so that if there's any withdrawals that are over a certain threshold, that it's $25, it sends me an email. So, anytime I make a payment in any way that comes out of my bank account, $25, I get an email. Now, it seems like a lot of emails, but there was a time in my life where I was concerned that people might be accessing my financial stuff, and so I set that up and it absolutely allowed me to be vigilant. And so, developing those tools for yourself that you're able to manage. Looking into data vaults, which I think are helpful for people in terms of getting their stuff safe, will really help people live more, obviously, safely but also with that peace of mind that I think we're trying to achieve here.

Casey Weade: Yeah. There's tools like you mentioned, the password keepers, LastPass, password Keeper. I use both of those tools and they're ones that give you the prompt to say, "Hey, you need to change this password. Hey, there's been a data breach. Change this password.” You know, they really help you manage those things. So, let's bring things to a close. Thank you for everything that you've delivered so far but, hey, you're on the Retire With Purpose podcast, so I have to ask you the question, what does retire with purpose mean to Tom?

Tom Kamber: Well, I'm 57 and I am looking forward to working for many more years because I love my job. I love the work that I do. Retirement for me, I think, will probably translate into some purpose projects that are, I'll be able to divorce myself a little bit from the financial results of the things I'm doing. So, I would probably pick, I feel like our civic culture is still weak in America. There's too much division. I have a passion for bringing people together. And so, my fantasy would be that I would go down to I live in Freeport, Long Island, which is a small town, East of New York City. It's very diverse here. We have a very large population of Latinos. It's about 50% Hispanic. But I notice that the Hispanics aren’t part of City Hall. They're not in the city government. And I thought, what a cool thing if I could go work with people in our local government to say, "Let's bring more people from this diverse community into the local civic participation. Let's build more economic processes around them so the businesses are more successful.”

I feel like I have a hand to give that in that area that I'm good at it but it's not anything anybody is going to pay me for. So, when I retire, I think I'll probably get active in my, like, really micro-level local politics and try to give people some hope that there's some form that we can kind of work together and maybe do something useful.

Casey Weade: Yeah. Well, you clearly have a passion for impact, and I can't wait to see what you accomplish, as you clearly are going to retire with purpose whenever that day may come but I don't think it's going to look quite traditional. If you want to learn more about Senior Planet, you want to just take things a step further, you want to share this with a family member or friend, you know, share the podcast. Share the interview. Visit Check out the show notes at Tom, thank you so much for joining us. It's been a pleasure.

Tom Kamber: Casey, I really appreciate it. It's been a great conversation today.