GOW2013 story from Germany: Tablet Pc´s in the hands of senior citizens

The Internet is not for everyone in Germany a natural instrument. Many people do still not use its advantages or even know how to handle PCs. Particularly affected are senior citizens, who never en­countered the new technology in their vocational life and so some of them are now afraid to use it. And yet the internet could have for the elderly high benefits and mean improvement of quality of life. They could better stay connected to their relatives, while skyping with their grandchildren. As well they could play games, get news about their preferred topics, recipes and make online-banking. The opportunities are boundless, if there would not be the first hard step to overcome.

The project “Tablets in the hands of senior citizens” helps with this first hard step. The project was initiated in last year´s Get Online Week. Back then the foundation gave 60 Android Tablet PCs to in­dividual seniors and senior organizations and evaluated if tablets can stimulate the use of apps and websites. The result was surprisingly positive. The direct connection with the applications through the touch screen facilitated the access enormously. With the disappearance of the mouse, one hard step disappeared as well. These results caused that we continued the project.

We offer now together with our industry partner E-plus five to ten tablets, depending of the size of the organization, for four weeks to senior organizations. The organizations are societies, retirement homes or elderly centers. The seniors in retirement homes get often help from students, who explain the dealings voluntarily to them.  The seniors we meet in societies are mostly sophisticated with PCs and internet, so that they often teach later other seniors about the use of tablets. After four weeks the organization keeps one or two of the tablets to ensure nobody forgets what they have learned and to give the opportunity to use the tablets more.

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