KEEPING IN TOUCH: Seniors at last year's Tea and Technology session at Club Mingara get hands-on with learning.
KEEPING IN TOUCH: Seniors at last year's Tea and Technology session at Club Mingara get hands-on with learning.

Tea sweetens the tech sessions for Central Coast seniors

IT'S virtually impossible to break or to lose things from, can connect you with family, friends and the world and do far more than you thought possible.

It's handheld technology ... and it doesn't have to be frightening.

Getting Seniors hands-on and confident with their own smart phone, iPad or other tablet is what Adssi Home Living Australia's free Tea and Technology sessions are all about.

Marketing and Communications manager Kristin Whitney has been involved in the program since it began last year, funded by the Elderslee Foundation as a result of its sale in 2015 of the Elderslee Retirement Village, in Bateau Bay.

"It's very much about demystifying technology and taking away the element of fear," she said.

"You are in a room with others just like yourself, so it's relaxed and friendly and no-one's judging.

"The emphasis is on doing it yourself - just keeping on tapping until you get where you want to go, rather than having a family member take the device from you and do it for you."

The sessions cater for a maximum of 50 people, ensuring sufficient staff to roam the tables and guarantee everyone receives personal attention, their questions answered and they leave satisfied.

In a ringing endorsement, a survey after the most recent session showed 90% of participants found it useful and 95% would return and/or recommend it to others.

Differences between this and other courses, Kristin said, included that it was very hands-on and utilised the participant's own device, with which they were familiar and exactly what they would be using when they got home.

"I think one of the traps we all fall into, regardless of age," Kristin said, "is that we use such a small percentage of what these devices can actually do."

Some people come with reasonably basic requests such as "my kids send me text messages, but I don't know how to reply", wanting to know how to send an email or attach a photo, or use Google or Facetime.

"It's really so easy and it opens people's lives up tremendously and lets them make those social connections to their family and friends," Kristin said.

Facetime, she pointed out, could be really important to people who were isolated and may report to family that they are well, but seeing them might tell another story.

Similarly being able to use Siri can be as useful as helping with a timer while cooking, finding a location or calling 000 in an emergency.

Sessions also show Seniors how to download apps, whether they be emergency and fire apps or games like Words with Friends (online Scrabble).

There's also a special Seniors App called YourLink - a pared down and more secure version of Facebook.

Other information includes data usage, with many fearing bill shock from overuse, and how to safely use wifi when out and about, and what not to do, like internet banking on insecure wifi.

Participants are generally in their 60s to mid-90s, and if you don't have a device, but are wondering if it would be useful, you are also welcome to go along and see what is possible.

Five more sessions are planned throughout the Coast this year, with the next ones on Monday, June 18 from 9am-midday at Ettalong 50+ Leisure & Learning Centre, Cnr Broken Bay Rd & Karingi St, Ettalong Beach and Thursday, July 26 from 9.30am-12.30pm at Club Mingara, Tumbi Umbi .

Registration is essential. Call 1300578478 or email info@adssihomeliving.com.au and don't forget to bring your device.


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