Inspiring Stories

Senior Planet Montgomery Inspires New Shopping Habits

Since Senior Planet Montgomery’s shift to virtual programming this past spring, more than 4,700 participants have joined a myriad of virtual programs offered online. Senior Planet Montgomery was quick to respond to the needs of seniors locally (and around the country) when COVID-19 impacted the operations of local community centers seniors often utilized to engage each other or participate in in-person programs.

Virtual Workshops on Online Shopping

Among the number of virtual programs, Senior Planet’s virtual ‘workshops’ quickly became a county favorite, with spots filling up as soon as registration opened. Not only this, but workshops inspired a number of new habits  – like online shopping.

For instance, in Senior Planet Montgomery’s “Shopping on Amazon Workshop”, seniors were taught how to search for products, compare prices, and evaluate product reviews. Seniors also learned about shipping options, as well as how to navigate Amazon on a plethora of devices like smartphones and tablets.

We spoke with two Montgomery County households, Rita Dhawan and Irene and Ricky Pasternak, to learn more about their virtual experiences and latest shopping hauls!

Point, Click…Buy!

Dhawan, a member who lives in Rockville, Maryland, is a regular attendee of popular virtual exercise programs offered weekly by Senior Planet New York. Dhawan’s participation in Senior Planet Montgomery’s “Shopping on Amazon Workshop” however, was an eye-opener.

“It made shopping so much easier for me since I do not drive much because of an eye condition. I always got anxious when I had to go shop for household items,” confesses Dhawan. “This workshop made it easier for me to understand how to use the Amazon app without making mistakes that could give away my personal information.” And Dhawan didn’t stop there; Dhawan’s new knowledge led her to purchase items like paper towels, tissue, snacks, and cooking oil. “I even bought my TV stand on Amazon!” she enthuses.

Meanwhile, the Pasternaks, who also reside in Rockville, Maryland, were eager to share info on what they had purchased; their Amazon purchases include: flashing lighted armbands, yoga pants, athletic shoes, exercise balls, and water bottles. Which virtual programs impacted her family’s shopping behaviors? “The program that impacted my shopping was eBay and PayPal,” notes Irene Pasternak.

Members give Digital Learning Rave Reviews

What’s the impact of these digital classes on the lives of members? When speaking with the Pasternaks, Senior Planet Montgomery learned even more about how virtual programming has helped seniors engage and tap into the world around them. Says Irene Pasternak, “I think it is helpful for people to discuss their experiences, as this will make other people feel more confident. I love all of the programs at Senior Planet.  It is great that peers can share with each other.”

Asked about her own personal experience and advice, Dhawan points out, “Seniors are mostly afraid to use electronics and phone apps. They are scared to accidentally give away their personal info to the predators on the net. Before joining Senior Planet, I didn’t know there were apps for almost every activity, from meditation to fitness apps, to virtual fitness classes, to classes on writing, and photography, all via Zoom.  I didn’t even know Zoom existed,’ she adds, “until I was connected to Senior Planet by the Maryland Department of Aging through Montgomery County Senior Programs. My life has become so much easier and connected now.  I feel very grateful for being connected to Senior Planet—one positive thing that I have gained because of the lockdown.”


For more information on Senior Planet Montogomery Programs please visit:


Photo: Campaign Creators for Unsplash