NOVEMBER 2018 Rural life 2018 open eir Silver Surfer Awards. Pictured are winners 98 year old David Rowe and 99 year old Gordon Lawson. Connected More and more of our day-to-day activity is moving online. Whether it’s paying bills, buying tickets, comparing prices or sourcing contact details, businesses are pushing their resources and customers online. There can be great benefits to this, including the ability to access information when and where you like, but for many older people, a fear of technology can hold them back. “There is a huge fear, and online safety is one of the biggest fears for older people that prevents them coming online. I recently represented Age Action on the National Council Advisory Committee for Online Safety. We had our first meeting and it’s out there that the Government is trying to do doing something about online safety in a proactive way. I’m there as the voice for older people because the online safety is very much focused on kids, but online safety is a barrier for older people.” As an example, Jennifer says popups can cause worry for older people who don’t know how to manage these when they are online and a fear of compromising their security can halt their progress. The programme is part-funded under the Department Getting While Government continues to investigate the impact of Denis Naughton’s dinner dates on the National Broadband Plan, Age Action continues supporting older people nationwide to get online. Jennifer Glansford, national development manager of Age Action’s Getting Started Programme, tells Oonagh O’Mahony that being online is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity and Age Action volunteers are helping older people gain the confidence they need to navigate the web of Communications’ Digital Skills for Citizens Training Fund. Under the criteria of the fund, Age Action must address several areas in its training, including: sending emails, accessing Government services, completing online financial transaction, and information gathering. Profound impact Jennifer says the course ticks all these boxes and more, with many attendees looking for additional supports in areas such as social media. “Social media is becoming much more popular. The majority of the time it’s about connecting people with family and friends, especially if people are away. People often say: ‘I put it up on Facebook’, ‘contact me through messenger’ and video calls are all increasingly popular. On phones things like WhatsApp for family groups and things like that are important.” Jennifer says attendees are encouraged to ask questions and Age Action’s volunteer trainers will support them in mastering the tools most relevant to them. “There’s no point teaching somebody how to use Skype if they have 69