Technology for social justice

Helping older people get online

We’ve been working with aged care providers in Melbourne to teach older people to use iPads and tablet computers.

New research from the United States supports this work, finding tablet computers can help seniors overcome some of the barriers to using technology and getting online.

We recently ran a six-week course for aged care staff and volunteers. Our trainer Glenden Woodworth says the aim is to empower older people to use technology to enhance their lives and better connect with family, friends and hobbies.

Credit: Flickr/Alan Levine

A grant from Gandel Philanthropy to buy equipment and provide training, and a gift from Google meant we were able to donate iPads, Apple TVs and Google Nexus tablets to aged care facilities in Glen Eira and to a Brotherhood of St Laurence aged care facility.

Course participant Audrey Bermingham, who is residential services Lifestyle Program Manager at Glen Eira City Council, says technology has the power to open up the world of older people.

“They can connect with their families and have social interaction through email, Skype and Facetime – but it’s more than that, it’s connecting with the wider world,” she says.

“They can have afternoon tea at Buckingham palace, they can visit the Taj Mahal, they can visit anywhere they like.

Joanne,  Sonja  and Audrey at  recent  training for aged care staff and volunteers.

“It could be horseracing for one, travel for another. They can play a game of chess online. It’s about them being engaged in the world and it’s great.”

Research by Michigan State University found tablet computers were easier for older people to use because they were smaller, didn’t require the muscle control needed to use a mouse and were less likely to prompt “tech anxiety”.


Filed in: Ageing and aged care , Digital skills | Tagged as: Tablets

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