Digital inclusion of seniors through intergenerational support

“To be honest,  I feel embarrassed for knowing so little  about computers, for example whenever I go to the library I have to ask people working there to help me find the book I need… I just feel so ignorant”, said an elderly lady at the start of the ICT course held in IAN Telecentar, Serbia.

Learning and using information and communication technologies by the elderly is seen as an important demand for their integration in daily life and as a factor related to active aging. Yet the “age-based digital divide” continues to persist.

Although older adults are increasingly using computers and the Internet, today in Serbia fewer than 20% of seniors are online compared to 94% of 12-16 year olds. This is why IAN Telecentar decided to dedicate a part of the Get Online Week 2015 activities to the elderly.

IAN Telecentar organised ICT training for a group of senior during March 2015 in an effort to facilitate their access to the resources and opportunities available for the digitally literate. They learned basics about the use of computers and they also had a chance to bring their own devices such as note pads and laptops and learn how to use them. Their biggest interests was focused on navigating the vast digital spaces offered by the internet. Many participants were especially interested in learning to communicate via Skype so that they could maintain communication with their family members who live abroad.

I learned to be patient

Intergenerational support in bringing digital literacy to seniors has proved to be very significant. With the help of our experienced IT trainer and dedicated young e-facilitators, the  enthusiastic and brave participants have mastered basic computer and internet skills. They have proved that age is no barrier to becoming part of the information society. Also, they never seem to have lost sight of the importance of lifelong learning which enables us, regardless of age, to continually maximize our personal potential, to advance our knowledge as well as to keep up with the latest social trends. 

Youngsters also benefited from working with the elderly “I learned how to be patient. It was a great experience for me,” pointed out one of the young e-facilitators.

Proud Silver Surfers

The course was finished during the Get Online Week and the certificate award ceremony was organized. The “silver surfers” were very proud of themselves and pleased to have obtained modern skills aimed at improving their quality of live and helping them to re-engage friends and relatives who live abroad and simply age actively.

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