Helping users into hi-tech world
Technology is a great resource to help older members of the community keep in touch with family and have almost anything delivered to their doors.
But learning how to make sense of tablets, computers, apps and websites can be a real hurdle.
Hawke’s Bay SeniorNet is one of a handful of technology education providers available around the region - it’s philosophy is ‘‘seniors teaching seniors’’.
One of the tutors Terry Mortensen said when being taught about different devices by a young person they often moved too fast or tried to complete tasks themselves, rather than showing the person how to do it.
The Hawke’s Bay group’s learning centre was based on the first floor of Nimon House at the Mary Doyle Complex in Havelock North.
The room catches the morning sun and is filled with desktop and laptop computers for students, along with a display of computers from when the group formed 21 years ago.
SeniorNet is an international organisation which provides lessons for seniors around the world, with the Hawke’s Bay branch one of the first in New Zealand.
Mortensen came to SeniorNet after retiring from the banking sector in 2010.
‘‘I could send an email, write my own reports and draft a basic PowerPoint but I couldn’t do all the bells and whistles.’’
He went along to a SeniorNet course to learn a bit more.
‘‘I picked it up reasonably well and got shoulder tapped to assist.’’
Tutors were all volunteers, as the only paid staff member was the CEO of the national body.
Mortensen said for many members they wanted to communicate with grandchildren, or needed to learn use a computer following the death of a spouse who had previously taken res- ponsibility for it.
The workshops run most days, with morning and afternoon sessions during school term dates.
These included classes on social media, banking, creating photo books, Excel, Android and Windows.
‘‘There’s no such thing as a silly question,’’ he said. ’’We have all asked them.’’
Membership is $15 a year and $7 a class which included morning or afternoon tea.
‘‘Anyone needing help should make contact with us, if we can’t help them we will direct them to someone who can.’’
Terry Mortensen and Jennifer Sowersby from Hawke’s Bay SeniorNet.