‘Have a go’ is a winning philosophy with technology

In the past decade or so, technology has become even more central to staying connected with the outside world.

The upside is that rapid technological advances allow us easier access to information and connects us to friends and family both in Australia and overseas in a way that would have been unimaginable not very long ago.

It has proven to be invaluable, especially during the pandemic which kept most of us inside our own homes.

Using the internet is more important than ever before as it has been the only way to connect for many of us since COVID-19 restrictions.

At the click of a keyboard or button on a smartphone, we can order food to our door and access vital information for our health and wellbeing.

What blocks us learning about technology?

The possibilities are endless no matter where your interests and needs lie. Studies have found that “Greater technology use [was] found to be associated with better self-rated health, fewer chronic conditions, high well-being, and lower depression.” (Thriveglobal)

Despite the advantages of accessing technology, some of us are unconfident when it comes to using IT and are unsure how to access the internet.

Many people over 55 did not work in jobs that used computers (for example, stay-at-home mums or people who worked in trades) and some of us don’t have access to computers at home.

We worry that we’ll break something or that we’re not smart enough to learn skills we haven’t had access to before.

Iris takes lessons at the library

We may feel that we don’t know where to start or are too old to learn but this isn’t true, according to one 93-year-old woman who attended IT classes at her local library.

Iris said she hasn’t been this happy or social in years as she can now see, (rather than just hear), her grandchildren on the phone who live in the UK using Skype calls.

Iris did a course at her local library where she met new friends who live in the same area but she had never met before.

She had thought that she wasn’t going to be very good at using computers as she was too old to learn something new. She would have been content to just learn how to contact her family more often and be able to see them.

However, she surprised herself when she started attending classes by how much she enjoyed learning new skills. She now uses the computer to learn more about managing her diabetes and watching interesting programmes for free.

The good news is that there are courses and support available to give people the support and confidence they need to learn and to access technology.

Where to access information

Every local government offers different support but your local library is a good place to start to find out what is available in your area. Local Senior Centres also offer services and support.

Some centres have volunteers to help you one-on-one or in small groups and often run courses over several weeks on different aspects of computer/smart phone use.

They may also have computers and free internet that you are able to use.

During the pandemic, some local governments offer Seniors an online Tech Connect meetings, which people can join to develop their digital skills, ask questions and improve their online confidence. The events are delivered live via Zoom.

Contact your local library to book or your local council to see what’s available in your area.

 Give it a Go!

During COVID-19 many of the talks and meetings designed to support you with your diabetes and other health issues have now been forced to ‘go online’ in the form of webinars, articles, medical devices and even visits to your health care professionals by Telehealth.

This is really good news for those who live remotely or find it difficult to get to hospital visits and meetings.

All that you need to access this technology is a ‘can do’ attitude, a little support and education, and the world of the internet is available to you.

Why don’t you give it a go and see for yourself? You have nothing to lose and a lot to gain.

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