Recently, the Council on the Ageing (COTA) ACT received funding from the ACT Government to offer free one-on-one digital learning sessions to seniors. The Seniors pop-up technology hub will be a place where senior Canberrans can come and ask questions in a relaxed way and learn about how to get online and become confident with using technology. The learning sessions are designed to assist seniors with staying in touch with their community, family and friends and be a resource for finding information online.
The Seniors pop-up technology hub will be available at the COTA ACT office at the Hughes Community Centre and from time-to-time throughout the Canberra community, at community centres and shopping spaces across the region.
COTA ACT was inspired to apply for the funding because many seniors have felt isolated and lonely while in COVID-19 lockdown. We also found statistics indicating that seniors are keen to learn and would like to use technology to stay in touch with family and friends.
72 per cent of older Australians want face-to-face help to learn how to use online technology (Digital Nation Australia).
Studies show that staying connected with loved ones and friends through online technology can help to combat loneliness and improve overall health (Australian Government e-safety Commissioner website).
The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need to assist older Canberrans in:
- filling in the new online ACT Seniors Card application form
- accessing the COTA ACT website
- video calling services
- social media channels, and
- online ACT Government information services.
Jenny Mobbs, CEO of COTA ACT was keen to add this service to the COTA ACT bow. “We would like to provide older Canberrans with the opportunity to learn how to use online technology services, the internet and how to navigate websites so they can feel more confident if there is another lockdown period. This will assist them in feeling connected to the community and family in the absence of face-to-face visits.
“This pandemic has shown that older Canberrans have been in an enhanced social exclusion situation due to the COVID-19 isolation measures imposed. Where senior Canberrans would normally go out into the community to shop, socialise, exercise, attend events and see family members, they have been isolated.
“With most information online, senior Canberrans have found themselves thrown into a situation of having to use technology to stay in touch with loved ones and to find information about services that were available to them within the COVID-19 paradigm. This highlighted a lack of confidence and skills when using technology and therefore exclusion from community incentives or programs to which they may be entitled,” concluded Ms Mobbs.
If you are a senior Canberran and would like to know more about the free computer literacy workshops run by COTA ACT, call the COTA ACT office on 6282 3777 or email Events@cotaact.org.au