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Computer Tuition to Help Elderly People Stay Independent

Added: (Wed Aug 06 2008)

Pressbox (Press Release) - Computers seem to be everywhere these days! From the Personal Computer gathering dust in the corner, to the cash machine on the street, sometimes it's easy to forget just how much technology rules our everyday lives.

Take a moment to think about the elderly citizens of the UK. Modern technology has advanced so quickly that many mature individuals may feel overwhelmed and left behind in such a computerised world. Information and communication technology is now the way of life and knowing the basics can open so many doors - new forms of cheap entertainment are made available, choices as a consumer become unbounded by internet shopping on the World Wide Web, and communication with friends and family using email and instant messaging services has never been so cheap and so much fun!

For the younger generations it is easier to adapt to technological advances, but for more mature individuals, the thought of learning something new and unfamiliar can be very daunting. A good example to mention here is my grandma who is approaching 80. She is so technology-phobic that she refused to touch a mobile phone for fear of breaking it or accidentally calling the queen! She required oodles of patience, gentle persuasion and clear instruction to master the art of a mobile call, but now reaps the benefits of feeling a little more secure whilst out shopping knowing her family are just a button’s push away.

Likewise computers can offer elderly people an element of empowerment and heightened independence, especially for those who may have physical or psychological problems which may cause accessibility issues. Once the fundamental basics of computing have been mastered, individuals can experience the freedom to shop without assistance, carry out hobbies, be involved in social forums and have a voice. I see this as a positive method of combating seclusion and maintaining an active mind.

Local colleges and local authorities, such as North Yorkshire County Council, regularly offer reasonably priced computer courses designed especially for beginners. These courses begin with the very basic fundamentals and assume nothing about your previous learning, only that you are completely new to computing.

But what about those who would prefer to learn on their own computer, don’t like a group environment or would just prefer to stay at home? For those individuals it may be worth considering the services of a personal computer tutor who will work on a 1 to 1 basis with the individual, usually in the individual’s home, and completely at the individual’s pace.

One such service is HG1Tuition (www.hg1t.com) based in Harrogate - a newly launched computer tuition business which offers friendly, fun and supportive computer tuition directed at elderly learners, those who need to start from the very beginning and those who need to build some computing confidence. Training providers such as HG1Tuition maybe a little more expensive than enrolling on a college course, but learners can specify what they would like to learn from one day to the next, so no time is wasted covering things deemed irrelevant.

In conclusion, I feel that many older adults may be receptive to using technology if introduced to it in a comfortable environment. Computing technology can become a major hobby and interest in the lives of the elderly. I urge all older adults to take on the challenge of a little bit of IT learning which, in turn, will open up the world! Well, the World Wide Web anyway…

Submitted by:Rebecca Jatta
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