• NanoGrans

A great idea

Updated: Apr 23, 2020

“This gives me a great idea!”

These six little words are Jen’s infamous catch phrase and have been the spark of most of the momentous events - good and bad - in her life. It strikes curiosity, apprehension, and/or mild terror in the hearts of those who know her best. These were the words we, Tanis (her mom) and Judy (her mother-in-law), heard her say just as we were finishing co-writing an invited newspaper article on how to encourage older adults to explore how technology might help us do the things we want to do.

The great idea was, of course, this blog - NanoGrans - which is a blended perspective of two women who have left 65 in their rearview mirrors with a dash of input from our daughter/daughter-in-law who is a university professor developing novel technologies to support aging.

Our mission: To co-author a blog with a topic every week or so about technology that older adults actually care about, written in a way we would want to read about it.

But before we go any further, allow us to introduce ourselves:


While I spent most of my career managing information systems, that was in the dark ages. Since then, HOW the technology works is only of interest as it relates to getting it to do WHAT I want. But my background gives me the confidence to try things out. Sometimes to my regret. A problem at my age when trying out something new is simply remembering what I did last time! But Jen and her brother always help. My two grandkids, friends, and personal interests are the reasons that lead me to try out new ways of connecting, playing, and keeping track, although for me face-to-face is still by far the best way. To date I have avoided Facebook, Twitter, etc. so I know this blog will lead me to new discoveries.

Judy My name is Judy and I am the technological tortoise of this enterprising group of women. I am a wife, mother of two, Nanny of four and a retired high school history teacher. Even with dogged determination, I am never going to win this race, but now understand that my choice to read a book has left me somewhat behind with my computer skills and my “ability to just play” with it. I am quite good at throwing up my hands, and this technique is no longer an option if I am going to keep up with the rapidly changing face of technology, maintain our awareness and keep us safe. I know that through writing this blog I am going to reap the knowledge award and surprise my family with what I can do.


I’ve just entered what I’ve been assured are the best years of life - my 40s. I am a Professor in Engineering at the University of Waterloo, the Schlegel Research Chair in Technology for Independent Living at the Research Institute for Aging, and the Director of the Intelligent Technologies for Independent Living lab. I’m passionate about creating innovative, accessible technologies that simultaneously enrich the experience of aging as well as society’s perception of aging. I have two young kids and a wonderful husband who loves to cook (thank you, Judy!).

And because some of us had to look it up ourselves, Mirriam-Webster says:

blog noun

1 computers: a website that contains online personal reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks, videos, and photographs provided by the writer 2: a regular feature appearing as part of an online publication that typically relates to a particular topic and consists of articles and personal commentary by one or more authors

In other words, each week or thereabouts we will write on a topic that we or our readers find meaningful and interesting. We have some thoughts as to the first few posts, but want to hear from you, too - at any time you can submit topics you’d like us to write about.

So we bid you a warm welcome to NanoGrans! We salute our great idea and set sail to parts unknown...one blog post at a time.

We hope you share the journey with us - subscribe at the bottom of the page to get an email when we put up a new post!

#tech #blog #olderAdults #NanoGrans

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