As the world becomes increasingly more reliant on digital technology, it is more important than ever to be tech-savvy. While some older people have no problems staying up to date with the latest gadgets, there are still an alarming number of the older generation who lack basic computer skills.
Statistics show that a surprising 4.2 million people over the age of 65 have never even used the internet. Larger numbers say they don’t use the internet frequently (1 in 20 people over the age of 75 have not used the internet in the last 3 months).
This can cause problems for older people because so much of the information and services they need are only accessible online. In fact, using computers can make life much simpler for older people, as they can use the internet to order their grocery shopping, use online banking and book doctor’s appointments.
Fortunately, there are many local services that can help older people gain the computer skills they need; whether they have no existing knowledge at all or just want to gain extra skills and confidence.
Age UK run free computer and IT training courses for older people across Sussex. Their volunteer instructors give easy-to-follow lessons, in accessible language, which are specifically tailored to help older people enjoy the advantages of technology.
The classes will teach your older relatives how make the most of devices like computers, the internet, mobile phones and digital cameras. You can find your closest course by searching by post code on their website.
Coffee Pot Computing
This is a specialist learning centre in Eastbourne which exists solely to give older people computer skills. Their sessions are small and friendly, giving older people the key computing skills they need.
The sessions will increase their confidence with technology and therefore help them to become more independent. Participants can take a formal course or just drop in to ask for advice and assistance. They can also bring in their own laptop or device, so they can learn how to use, or better use, their own equipment.
Find out more about Coffee Pot Computing on their website.
Getting a private tutor to visit your relative at home might be another good, albeit, more expensive option. Learning in their own environment with a technology expert could be the easiest way to improve their computer skills.
Private tutors have the technological expertise and the teaching experience to improve your relative’s knowledge, where perhaps you might have failed personally in the past. There are even some tutors that specialise in teaching older people; and they can work around your schedule.
The one-on-one nature of the sessions could also lead to more focused learning: your relative with be able to ask the tutor to go back over things or ask all the questions they want without worrying about wasting the rest of the classes time.
For older people who know the basics but want to ramp up their computer knowledge then an online course could be a great option. There are also a lot of options that are free if you want to keep costs down.
There are lots of good educational videos on YouTube on how to use all sorts of technology. All you need to do is search for what you are looking for and press play. There are also plenty of more focused and free courses on a large variety of subjects online. There will be some courses you have to pay for so make sure you know which option you’re choosing.