At 102, Charles Lawson is living proof that you’re never too old to learn new tricks. This charming Perth pensioner recently mastered how to use an iPad, and, he says, it’s transformed his life.
“I use it every day,” adds Charles, who’s tapping away on the tablet computer even as we arrive to pay him a visit. “Now, when I wake up in the early hours, I can get online and find out what’s happening in the world,” says the retired businessman who lives with wife Maria, 92, in the Perth coastal suburb of Waikiki. “I love looking at news sites, getting new information. That’s much more enjoyable than having to switch on the TV when you can’t sleep,” he enthuses.
He’s also just learned how to send emails; and is overjoyed at the results. “Just a few years ago, if you‘d have said something like this was going to come along, they’d have thought you were mad!”
Born in July 1914, weeks before the outbreak of World War One, Charles still has clear memories of a simple, technology-free childhood growing up in the port city of Fremantle. “My family had a horse and cart,” he recalls. “My uncle would sometimes take me out to the Spearwood area – bush land back then – to collect shrubs, which we’d later sell for a shilling a bag.” He still remembers when his father purchased their first wireless. “It was in 1927; I was 13. And I remember when we first got an ice chest; before that we’d relied on the old Coolgardie Safe to keep our food cold.”
The oldest of five children, he says he’s outlived all his family. Asked why he’s survived the longest, he doesn’t hesitate. “I think it’s all in the mind,” he says. “I stay positive. If you want to be negative, there are plenty of negative thoughts you can have. I prefer to have positive thoughts. “And I love learning new things, it keeps the mind active, and on this iPad, I’m regularly playing a card game, Solitaire!” he says with a smile.
So how did he become so adept at this Apple device, most commonly used by folk decades younger? “One of those good people at KinCare brought one over a couple of months ago, and showed me how to work it. I think it’s marvellous!”
Charles signed up with KinCare last year and he’s full of praise for our carers, who regularly call in to assist him with basic household tasks, including showering. “They’re terrific. Best thing that ever happened! They just come along and do the job, and they do it so well. I didn’t know they existed until recently. They’re wonderful.”
With Charles soon to celebrate his 103rd birthday, we think he could quite possibly be the oldest iPad user on the planet!
Credits: By Jacqui Lang. Pictures by Peter Rigby