Technology helps seniors to keep informed and to stay in touch

Achievement: This seniors tech program held a graduation ceremony once participants were confident enough in using an up-to-date device. Photo: Supplied

Achievement: This seniors tech program held a graduation ceremony once participants were confident enough in using an up-to-date device. Photo: Supplied

We can all agree that technology has fast become an integral part of our lives, for both young and old.

Seniors are being encouraged by well meaning family members and the community as a whole to get online and become savvy users of technology.

The recent global pandemic has highlighted how useful technology is in keeping us informed and connected to our loved ones.

Having a reasonably up-to-date mobile phone, laptop or tablet can help prevent loneliness and isolation and can also be a great emergency tool.

In most cases, learning from an in-store demo just isn't enough. Many community service organisations run programs to teach seniors how to use technology confidently in everyday life.

Neha Shukla coordinates a seniors tech program in her local area which she describes as "an innovative technology training program especially designed for those aged over 65".

The program supports first time users who don't own a device as well as those who already have a device but need some support to become confident users.

It covers basic key skills such as using emails, video calls, fundamentals of social media, online shopping and banking, with a heavy focus on online safety.

"The training is adapted for each participant and to cater for all skills levels from beginners to those who have prior experience but need to sharpen their digital skills," said Neha.

"For those who don't have a device, an android tablet is provided to eligible participants.

"Community volunteers provide support and training to help boost the confidence of the elderly in using their digital skills."

The type of device for a senior is a matter of individual preference. Most on the current market will cater to any level of digital expertise and the program tutors are happy to assist with acquiring one to suit.

Since the program started in 2019, almost 500 seniors have joined and Cheryle Leggett is one of them.

"I appreciated that the course allowed me to learn at my own pace. The trainers were so helpful, so I didn't feel intimidated to ask the most basic questions. I now understand more about technology and how it can be used," she said.

Bobbi Flower, 81, was one of the many program participants who used their technology skills to stay in contact with their family via regular video calls during the COVID-19 lockdowns.

He said it was difficult to not have his grandson over for visits, but they talked everyday through video calls.

"We shared our day's activities with each other," he said.

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