Lifestyle

Volunteers link seniors to computer literacy

Kathy Wylie of the Junction Literacy Centre, gives Dayle Drury of the Seniors Information Resource Bureau a few computer pointers. The two agencies have teamed  up to provide the Seniors Computer Support Program which will match trained, computer-savvy volunteers with seniors who need help with technology in their lives. - Cara Brady/Morning Star
Kathy Wylie of the Junction Literacy Centre, gives Dayle Drury of the Seniors Information Resource Bureau a few computer pointers. The two agencies have teamed up to provide the Seniors Computer Support Program which will match trained, computer-savvy volunteers with seniors who need help with technology in their lives.
— image credit: Cara Brady/Morning Star

For seniors who may have grown up learning how to write with a nibbed pen and pot of ink, and even younger seniors, technology can seem overwhelming.

The Seniors Computer Support Program wants to help by matching seniors, 55-plus, who want to use computers, ebooks, iPads, tablets or cell phones with volunteers who have the skills.

The program, a joint project of the Junction Literacy Centre and the Seniors Information Resource Bureau (SIRB), is looking for volunteers for the first training session, to take place the end of January.

“The real advantage of the program is that it is one-on-one so people can work at their own pace, rather than trying to keep up with a class, or being bored because they learn more quickly than the rest of the class,” said Kathy Wylie, program coordinator for the Junction Literacy Centre. “Technology changes and sometimes people need a little help to keep up.”

Dayle Drury, executive director of SIRB, said she often gets requests from seniors for computer help.

“This fits well with our motto of seniors helping seniors, although we hope that this program will get volunteers of all ages. We would like to see nursing, education and human service worker students volunteer, as well as anyone else who wants to share their skills. Computers are here and people need to be able to access them and use them properly,” she said.

The program is partly funded by Interior Health in recognition of the benefits of computer use for better communication with family and friends and for information about health and other concerns.

The volunteers will take a short training session covering different learning styles and how to make accommodations for hearing, sight and movement issues. Once a pair is matched, they will meet once a week for about an hour at a public place, like the library.

For more information or to volunteer, contact Wylie at 250-549-2216 or kwylie@junction.net.

 

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