How to offer vital digital support during the coronavirus crisis

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Neighbours, friends and work colleagues should take the time to reach out and offer older people support in using digital technologies such as video calls, telehealth and online shopping during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Global Centre for Modern Ageing (GCMA) said it was important to work together during this difficult time.

“During this unprecedented time, many people may feel confined to their homes,” said the GCMA chief executive officer Julianne Parkinson. “However, greater isolation does not necessarily need to lead to loneliness, people do not need to be disconnected from the world.

“We know increasing numbers of people are using technologies to socialise, connect, learn and, in many cases, work or run a business.

“For those who aren’t, we urge the digitally confident to offer support in getting their friends, family and neighbours online – or helping them to use online technologies they may not be familiar with.”

Ms Parkinson said people who do not feel comfortable continuing with their usual activities – or who may need to stay at home if unwell – could still connect online.

“The weekly catch-up at the local café can be replaced with an online video chat using one of the many readily available platforms such as WhatsApp or FaceTime, some medical appointments can be conducted using telehealth, and people can also learn new skills through online learning if they are enabled,” Ms Parkinson said.

She added that people who would like to use technology more but need some guidance should also feel comfortable and not embarrassed asking for help.

Many older people already own digital devices but are not necessarily using them to their full potential, recent studies show.

A 2016-17 Deloitte survey of Australian consumers found 78 per cent of people aged 65-75 owned a smartphone, along with 82 per cent of those aged 55-64.

However, a recent study by RMIT University found that while older people have high levels of digital device ownership, they have only moderate levels of confidence in using the devices.

Are you confident you can manage online, if you are forced to isolate yourself inside? Have you tried to teach others?

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Written by Ben


Total Comments: 7
  1. 0

    Be Connected is an Australia wide initiative empowering all Australians to thrive in a digital world. We have free online learning resources as well as a Network of community partners – the Be Connected Network – who offer in-person support so you can develop your digital skills and confidence. Find a local place for friendly help and advice, or join the Network to help others.

    • 0

      Farside – I am registered for this site but found the info very basic. Am using phone for SMS, messaging, emails etc but there’s still a lot to learn I know. My Apple ‘gadgets’ have been set up by our computer techie to ‘talk’ to each other via wi-fi and have Trend Micro security protecting household but technology goes too fast. Have discovered Google Duo app which allows my iPhone to video to Samsung and vice versa. Great fun in these trying and traumatic times.

    • 0

      Fair observations Denny. The site is intended to be basic but it opens the doors for students to explore further and ask questions more direct to their requirements and it ensures the students have a baseline of knowledge to assist future instruction. Several of my students had difficulties with things as simple as controlling the mouse (so you show them solitaire and other games), using email and social media to connect to family and friends, overcoming fear to transact online etc. Once started they quickly identify areas they wish to know more about like signing up to websites for hobbies, using search engines to research interests, organising photos etc. The fact that you already know how to text and use emails puts you ahead of many. Ask your course leader if you have other areas you wish to explore.

      I continue to provide occasional support to several of the folk that have completed the course, just not to the point of disadvantaging those trying to make a business out of providing IT services.

  2. 0

    Many older people already own digital devices but are not necessarily using them to their full potential, recent studies show. they added that people who would like to use technology on these days. more update get at Top Celebs Jackets

  3. 0

    Farside’s posting is very interesting as I have put this article on Facebook and have written “Oh how true this article is as, even after 33 years ‘on computers’, I still find it hard to fathom and use technology like Bluetooth etc. Help!! Signed – a frustrated senior who is trying to master iPhone and iPad but can cope with my little iPod. PS have difficulty differentiating between the names when conversing with others!!.”

  4. 0

    only 2 words Stay Home and Social Distance

  5. 0

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