Youth to bring seniors and technology together in St Catharines

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Published August 3, 2021 at 7:15 pm

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Anyone with elderly parents or grandparents knows the struggles of trying to set them up with a laptop or desktop computer. The simple fact is they are often afraid of technology.

Given that the internet has really only been around for 20 or so years, it’s a skill that many seniors simply never bothered to learn.

The City of St Catharines is hoping to bridge the gap between seniors and technology, partnering with a non-profit organization to help eliminate the digital divide by providing older adults technology training, using an intergenerational volunteer model.

In cooperation with Cyber-Seniors, the City will connect seniors with digital mentors for technology training, with the aim of heightening their cyber skill, allowing them to keep socially connected and engaged, while also forging a unique connection with youth volunteers. The City’s program is set to launch on August 9.

“Cyber-Seniors is a great way to help older adults get connected and feel more comfortable with the Internet,” said Koby Vanyo, programs supervisor for the City of St. Catharines.

“As we’ve seen during the pandemic, online access also became essential to stay informed and helped individuals feel socially connected while still safe and independent.”

Indeed, the pandemic was likely the hardest on seniors without internet skills as they were more isolated from their friends than ever.

While at this time, the program will be delivered virtuall, and residents will have to rely on using their own devices (a smartphone, tablet or laptop will work) and Internet connection, long term, the goal will be for the City’s Older Adult Centres to offer access to technology and provide in-person training on laptops, tablets and other devices.

For more information on Cyber-Seniors, including how to connect with a mentor and more on the programs and services, visit https://cyberseniors.org/niagara.

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