Gong social enterprise sprooks the benefits of Googling grandparents tackling the digital divide

In Australia one in seven people are over 65.

And while many look forward to a fulfilling retirement that involves spending time with family and engaging with their community.

The harsh reality is that many people in that age group are becoming increasingly isolated. And that is having a negative impact on their mental and physical health.

Which is why Illawarra social enterprise Living Connected is highlighting the challenges and opportunities of including the aging population in the online world.

With relatives living all over the world, a decrease in mobility, and services moving online, the not-for-profit equips older people with the digital skills required to stay connected and independent.

Living Connected founder Professor Helen Hasan said it was very rewarding when her team was able to help them set up Skype or ABC iView and give them the independence to do online banking or shopping.

Prof Hasan said a focus of Living Connected was helping elders use technology to enrich their lives.

In the process society also benefits from digital inclusion as Googling Grandparents become healthier, more active, and independent.

It means they also have more opportunities to mentor, volunteer, and take charge of their own finances.

She said that resulted in less work for carers and more opportunities for businesses and public service providers who are finding themselves with a new audience.

In addition to drop-in centres and computer classes in aged care facilities, Living Connected is launching a personalised in-home program for its clients. The goal of the program is to promote the wellbeing of citizens in the Illawarra region by using technology to help them remain engaged, active and independent.