They don’t call it the Digital Age for nothing. So much of modern life is played out on screens, from basic tasks such as shopping, filling out forms and finding contact details, to social engagement, where Facebook and WhatsApp have largely taken over the café catch-up. It’s a convenient and fast way to live life for the tech savvy, but a nightmarish web of confusion for those used to paper forms and Melways.

It’s ironic that the times we live in have made it both easier to keep in touch and easier to slip into isolation and loneliness. The latter is a real risk for seniors in our community, a group already vulnerable to becoming cut off from friends and family.

At BASScare, we’re very aware of how much of today’s society is digitally run, which is why we have computer tutoring for seniors, whether they’re our clients or members of the Boroondara community. No matter how little confidence you have using technology, we’ll have you checking your voicemail, hosting Zoom meetings and getting your capricciosa delivered by UberEats in no time.

In today’s world, being computer literate isn’t just a matter of convenience; it’s about safety, socialisation and wellbeing.

Staying safe online

It’s nigh on impossible to entirely avoid the digital world. Try as we might, there are forms that can only be filled online or people we can only reach through the internet. Many seniors only use the internet when they have to and are therefore less assured online, which unfortunately makes them vulnerable to hacking and scams.

Paul Clark, senior manager of the Office of the eSafety Commissioner, has stated that ‘older Australians were more likely to fall prey to scams if they were not taught to be tech savvy’.

At BASScare, we hold one-on-one computer tutoring where all the important information can be learned, such as not opening emails from unknown sources and when it’s safe to send personal information online.

Keeping healthy

One of the great advantages of technology is the convenience it has brought to healthcare. For those with memory issues, it can be difficult to remember appointments and medications. Thankfully, there are numerous apps designed to give seniors audible reminders of when to take medications so they don’t miss doses. And every smartphone comes with a calendar, where appointments can be recorded and alerts sent on the day of.

Of course, these apps can be complicated to navigate if you’ve spent most of your life relying on notes stuck to the fridge. Our awesome volunteers at BASScare’s computer tutoring can easily demonstrate how these and many other apps work to make your life more manageable. Like most things, all it takes is practice.

Staying active

There’s no stage of life where exercise isn’t important. Fortunately, our homes contain everything we need for a pulse-raising workout. Sometimes, though, no matter how detailed the instructions or images, it’s still helpful watching somebody perform the exercises. Believe it or not, this is where technology comes into its own.

YouTube and Instagram are chockers with exercise gurus who demonstrate everything from toe stands to dead lifts. Our digitally-minded volunteers can walk you through all the online video platforms available and even set up subscriptions for you so you never miss out on new content. It may seem daunting at first, but once you’ve been shown how, you’ll find yourself disappearing down YouTube rabbit holes just like everyone else.

Technology brings us closer

It’s all too easy for anyone to find themselves having gone weeks or months without speaking to friends or family. Seniors within our community are particularly vulnerable to this trap, one reason being that they don’t take advantage of the numerous digital apps out there that make communication quick and easy.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the ways in which we keep in touch, impacts that will long outlive the pandemic itself. WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are relied upon more than ever, and other apps such as Zoom have seen exponential growth since lockdown events began sweeping over the world.

In some ways, this is not such a bad thing. Becoming familiar with these apps means that friends and family are literally only a click away. You can organise video catch-ups for longer chats or engage in conversations that meander along throughout the day. This aspect of the digital revolution has an extraordinary ability to bring people closer and encourage greater communication.

Chatting with one of our tech gurus, you’ll discover how simple these applications are to use. There really is nothing to lose, and everything to gain.

Computer Tutoring for Seniors at BASScare

We’re passionate about keeping our clients in touch with their friends, family and the wider world. Technology is one of the best tools in this endeavour and our volunteers can easily help you navigate the digital landscape. To find out more about our one-on-one computer tutoring, check out our Computer Tutoring for Seniors page.