Last spring AGE UK’s My Friends Online Week raised awareness of those of pension age who could and who wanted to access the internet. For many pensioners, computers weren’t the norm in their daily working life or they worked in a manual job where computers weren’t used. This doesn’t necessarily refer to younger pensioners who may have been using computers for years. Now they are in a position of privilege.
With no previous experience some older pensioners find the thought of learning how to use a computer intimidating and a huge hurdle to jump.
AGE UK’s awareness raising week last year found that 200,000 senior citizens were already online. Some commented, “We don’t want to get left behind.” Others realised they were missing out on quite a few options that would make their lives better.
Are You Missing Out?
Perhaps the biggest plus to knowing how to use a computer is keeping in touch. Both email and Skype allow users to contact friends and family on a regular basis for relatively little outlay.
Other pensioners want to be able to shop or sell online to make their lives easier, or just want to be able to look up things. The internet is a great resource if you want information. You can read your paper online or search the archives for information.
Others realise it is a way to catch up on missed TV programmes or to extend their hobby i.e. manipulating photos they’ve taken.
Watch AGE UK’s video below.
AGE UK’s Internet Champions
AGE UK’s ongoing programme for pensioners to use computers has been celebrated this year when a 92 and 55 year old have earned the joint title of Internet champion. Jim Perry is the 92 year old in question and Janet Tchanani claims the other half of the award! They received their awards in March this year when June Whitfield made the presentation.
Stephen Fry was one of the judges and commented, “Like millions of others, I simply can’t imagine a life without the convenience and wonder of the internet. Yet over 5 million older people have never been online. I was delighted to help choose AGE UK’s Internet Champions for 2013 and wish them all the best in inspiring more people to the ways of the web.”
Watch Jim and Janet’s stories on their videos, where they explain why the internet means so much to them and how it has changed their lives.
Two years ago the BBC launched a First Click programme in which pensioners around the country were privy to an Age Concern learning initiative. Run in libraries, the seniors were tutored by young students. Here’s what 81 year old Audrey James had to say about the classes:
“The computer has been my salvation – especially as I live alone. It’s wonderful. If I can’t sleep I get up and go on the computer and I can lose myself into it. I keep in touch with family in Canada and I play games but I’d like to learn more.”
Unfortunately these classes are no longer running but there are opportunities with AGE UK and at NIDirect. You can also ask at your local library.
Ipads For The Elderly
Senior citizens are using ipads more and more. Most or many of them have been encouraged to use them; some have even had the iPads bought for them by their sons and daughters.
Over the top
In the Dutch city of Zwolle earlier this year they gave 30 pensioners lessons on how to use an iPad. This involved teaching them how to access the internet, send messages (emails) and to use social media i.e. Twitter and Facebook.
The shock was that the local council spent €87,000 euros on this project – to teach 30 people! Don’t expect to see anything like this investment in your local town! It’s a lot more inexpensive to get online yourself. Often your local library will run free courses or perhaps a younger relative can help? If you are looking for a computer for an elderly relative why not teach them how easy it is by showing them your PC or tablet?