|Student & instructor in Faarevejle|
It's all about feeling comfortable, about creating the right environment. The telecentres of the Association of Danish Senior Citizens generate that feeling. Because for many elderly, the idea of returning to the school bench is an intimidating one, as they retain unpleasant memories from their school days.
Take a cup of coffee, a friendly face, a patient teacher and the ever present instinct to learn and you have the makings of a telecentre! The elderly teach the elderly - there is a feeling of camaraderie, they are of the same age, speak the same language and invariably come from the same area - they are peers.
Knowledge is passed from those with some or much experience to those with little or none. The common denominator is the desire to master the internet and all that it entails. Because the wish to be e-included is paramount and increasingly necessary in today’s Denmark: net banking, digital medical journals, on line communication with local municipalities and with the government authority, pretty much everything happens online.
The association runs more than 180 telecentres located across the entire country. More than 1.000 volunteers teach more than 10.000 elderlyevery year and the number is increasing. For the elderly, it is important that telecentres are locally situated and within easy reach.
There is no quick fix for this group. Crash courses may provide immediate answers or clarify a specific topic but training, explanation and guidance form the basis for a long-term relationship with the computer, the internet and with digitalisation.
Another relationship, just as important, is that which evolves between the members of the telecentres. Lasting friendships are formed and the social aspects are manifold.
Alice, an elderly lady of 82, joined a telecentre, was a regular attendee and an active participant. However, one day she did not turn up on time for her lesson, nor did she cancel. This was so unusual that the telecentre tried phoning her, and when there was no response, the police and medical services were alerted.
She had suffered a brain haemorrhage. Because she was found and treated so promptly she recovered fully and was back at the telecentre two weeks later. This is not a singular occurrence. It shows the importance of the network emanating from the telecentres. Social activity and tuition go hand in hand. E-inclusion is a part of lifelong learning.
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