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partnerships:articles:older [2017/06/12 10:20] (current)
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 +Baby Boomers join the Information Age
 +=====================================
 +
 +\
 + by [Emma Aldridge](mailto:​aldride@ace.org.uk) \<​Aldride@ace.org.uk\>​\
 +
 +------------------------------------------------------------------------
 +
 +*Emma Aldridge, Web site manager for Age Concern, explains why older
 +people may be interested in the Internet, and the provision her
 +organisation is planning.... including a 'Baby Boomer"​ chat room.*
 +
 +------------------------------------------------------------------------
 +
 +Age Concern exists to promote the well being of all older people and to
 +make later life a more fulfilling and enjoyable experience. Therefore
 +Age Concern is very interested in the impact of IT on an ageing
 +population.
 +
 +We know that there are many older people who are very interested in
 +understanding and participating in new technologies such as the
 +Internet, the web, email, Desk Top publishing.
 +
 +Their motivations may be varied, it might be a feeling of needing to
 +keep up with their grandchildren,​ to stay in touch with families and
 +friends, to keep "grey cells" ticking over, to take forward skills that
 +have been picked up in earlier employment or just curiosity. Whatever
 +the drivers, there are more and more older people who are signing onto
 +courses, getting involved in local "​taster"​ sessions and buying
 +computers to try "​things out for size" themselves at home.
 +
 +So, if we are to believe there is so much interest and intent around,
 +then where is the evidence - why do we not have older people on every
 +seat in every high street internet cafe, and clearing the shelves of
 +Dixons with their PC purchases?
 +
 +Clearly there are many factors which are holding people back, one being
 +cost, another being the "fear factor"​ - fear to try and fear of
 +failure - the equipment failing the user, and the user failing
 +themselves.
 +
 +Age Resource is a project within Age Concern
 +(<​http://​www.ace.org.uk/​ageres>​) which has started a programme to take
 +computer taster sessions into day centres, nursing homes, residential
 +care homes and sheltered housing units in England.
 +
 +15 Age Concern organisations will be chosen to roll out the programme
 +across England and 200 new volunteers (aged 50+) will be recruited and
 +provided with basic computer, email and Internet training.
 +
 +The trained volunteers will pay regular visits to day centres, nursing
 +homes etc identified by the Age Concern organisation,​ offering the
 +residents the chance to 'surf the net' and learn how to e-mail family
 +and friends. This will be done using appropriate hardware - laptops,
 +data projectors, large screens etc and will take account of the
 +'​clients'​ needs in terms of possible visual impairment, mobility
 +problems etc.
 +
 +This project will provide the volunteers - active older people - with a
 +basic knowledge of computers and the Internet and increase in
 +confidence, offering them the chance to move on if they wish, to more in
 +depth, certificated training, and, possibly, a return to paid employment
 +or a greater involvement in voluntary or free time activity.
 +
 +For more frail elderly people the outreach sessions are seen as
 +stimulating and empowering, enabling them to take a much greater part in
 +the life of their community. They will be encouraged to identify areas
 +of particular interest to them so that appropriate web sites can be
 +'​surfed'​ - which may be the desire to investigate a particular medical
 +condition, find out more about a legal or historical matter, or simply
 +to research their family history or look at quilting patterns from
 +Canada or knitting patterns from the north of Scotland.
 +
 +Each session will build upon the previous one so it is also hoped that
 +new friendships will, in time, develop between volunteers and clients,
 +combating the isolation which many frail older people experience.
 +
 +Age Resource has also published a free booklet called Grasp The Nettle
 +which provides a beginners guide to the Internet. Last copies are still
 +available - telephone 0181 765 7610.
 +
 +Age Concern is in the final stages of developing the very first Internet
 +chat site for the over 50s - <​http://​www.babyboomerbistro.org.uk>​. It
 +will encourage discussion and debate around specific themed topics -
 +such as hobbies, volunteering,​ environmental issues and topical current
 +affairs issues as well as providing an area for people to meet each
 +other and chat.
 +
 +We do have a long way to go in this country to provide affordable access
 +so that the Internet really can be a tool for everyone ensuring that as
 +its use grows, it does not become divisive rather than inclusive, but I
 +hope projects like these will improve the accessibility of this
 +technology, confidence in using this technology and relevance of this
 +technology to the older population.
 +
 +[Emma Aldridge](mailto:​aldride@ace.org.uk) \<​Aldride@ace.org.uk\>​
 +
 +Age Concern Web Site Manager
 +
 +0181 765 7834
 +
 +www.partnerships.org.uk/​articles/​older . July 1999.
  
partnerships/articles/older.txt ยท Last modified: 2017/06/12 10:20 (external edit)