50s Lifestyle

World daunting if not online yet

Chester Hill Neighbourhood Centre computer class attendee Keith Betts (left) with Community Strengthening Co ordinator Quan-Minh Chau and instructor Percy Bautista.

AS more and more services shift online, older Australians who have so far resisted the virtual world are being left with little option but to sink or swim

The thought of doing so can be very daunting for those generations who grew up with face-to-face contact and snail mail; let alone exposing themselves to the risk of being scammed.
But Canterbury Bankstown residents are jumping on board the technology train, filling up training places almost immediately as they’re advertised through the council, local libraries, neighbourhood centres and even Canterbury-Earlwood Caring Association (CECAL) who say they can barely keep up with demand.
Chester Hill Neighbourhood Centre Community Strengthening Co ordinator Quan-minh Chau is concerned about the pace of the digital transformation of essential services that seniors depend on, including the aged pension.
“They are being dragged along into this new world whether they like it or not,” Ms Chau said.
“With seniors, there’s a lot of pressure to be online.
“But our approach is very easy. First, we assess their competence level and build up confidence through drilling in the basics in case there are memory issues.
“It’s amazing too just how many seniors don’t realise what’s out there in the world that can help them online plus options like eBay and Gumtree if they’re downsizing, banking, games or social clubs.
“We show them how to skype family, order shopping online so if they’ve got mobility problems they don’t even have to leave the house plus we show them how to be secure online so they’re not at risk of scammers.”
The centre offers a Be Connected course and one to one tutoring on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
For more info, call the centre on 9645 3700; CECAL on 9559 4013 or the council (which is launching a new suite of computer training options later this year) on 9707 9708.