CLEVELAND — As an engineer, Bob Paulus has always had a knack for technology.
His daughter, Gretchen Santo, said Paulus has always kept up with the latest inventions.
"When the first computers came out he wanted to learn how to use a PC. So it was about the time he was retiring from BP where he worked and so he would go to college classes and learn how to run the computer so he's been doing computers for at least 30 years at this point," Gretchen Santo said.
Now at 102-years-old, Paulus is experiencing another advancement in technology in the form of virtual doctor's appointments.
"This is truly amazing. Frankly, I was astonished that it was picked up and started. It's an amazing capability in my thinking of the part of the professional like Dr. Gelles. It's just amazing that they can push their skills to that level and make an interpretation over air," Paulus said.
Paulus recently had his very first telemedicine appointment and said he enjoyed it.
"I had reservations that not being on a one-to-one basis would prevent any accomplishments being made but now I can see that it may not be 100% but it's certainly a well worthwhile effort to maintain the health of the seniors.
Dr. Ellen Gelles, an Internist at MetroHealth Medical Center, said Paulus is one of her patients.
Since the start of the pandemic, she said more older patients are giving telemedicine appointments a try.
"People really do like -- they realize now how much they really can get out of a video visit. In particular, since the weather has not been so good, particularly with some of the older patients. I mean both because of COVID and because you know they don't have to fall or travel or get their children to drive them. Things like that," Gelles said.
One obstacle Gelles sees with older patients is a hesitation with using technology.
But she said they're overcoming that as well.
"I think the response of people once they've done it they're really ... Their face lights up. I mean I've had older patients (who) are just really excited. I think both because they're just sort of amazed you can do this and because they do like connecting. Some of them, especially older patients, have been the most isolated and are most likely to have really not left the house much during this, especially some of the really older patients, so they really like having the contact.
Paulus encourages seniors who are nervous about using technology to give telemedicine a try.
"Take advantage of this service and just for the reasons that my daughter has indicated you're not getting exposed to other dangers," said Paulus.
Paulus also said any seniors who need help with joining their telemedicine appointment should ask their kids, grandkids, or even great-grandkids for help.