When 82-year-old Masako Wakamiya first began working she still used an abacus for maths — today she is one of the world’s oldest iPhone app developers, a trailblazer in making smartphones accessible for the elderly.
Frustrated by the lack of interest from the tech industry in engaging older people, she taught herself to code and set about doing it herself.
The over 60s, she insists, need to actively search out new skills to stay nimble.
“As you age, you lose many things: your husband, your job, your hair, your eyesight. The minuses are quite numerous. But when you learn something new, whether it be programming or the piano, it is a plus, it’s motivating,” she says.
“Once you’ve achieved your professional life, you should return to school. In the era of the internet, if you stop learning, it has consequences for your daily life,” Wakamiya explains during an AFP interview at her home near Tokyo.
Wakamiya says her ultimate goal is to come up with “other apps that can entertain older people and help transmit to young people the culture and traditions we old people possess”.
“Most old people have abandoned the idea of learning, but the fact that some are starting (again) is not only good for them but for the country’s economy,” said Wakamiya, who took up the piano at 75.
Hinting that her good health is down to an active mind and busy life, she adds: “I am so busy everyday that I have no time to look for diseases.”
- Why is it important to keep the brain active?
- What are ways for people to keep their minds active?
- What are some issues that are faced by older people?
- Why is it important to engage older people?