Seniors learn to tap 'mouse power'

Eldersurf Intergen Bootcamp, held on Jan 23, 2016, helps seniors get acquainted with computers and the Internet in a fun way.
Eldersurf Intergen Bootcamp, held on Jan 23, 2016, helps seniors get acquainted with computers and the Internet in a fun way.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

Hundreds of seniors are getting up-to-date on how to use technology in their daily lives, with the help of teenage volunteers.

The North East Eldersurf Intergen Bootcamp, which is organised by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), the North East Community Development Council, POSB Bank and 18 schools, was officially launched yesterday by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean and MP for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC.

So far, more than 450 senior citizens have signed up for courses under this programme, which started last November.

This free bootcamp is part of the Government's suite of initiatives to build a digitally inclusive society as the Republic moves to becoming a smart nation where resources are better managed by technology.

IDA managing director Jacqueline Poh said Singapore's smart nation push is meant to benefit all parts of society, including seniors who might sometimes find technology daunting.

The bootcamp, which ends in March, has six modules, five of them three-hour workshops led by student guides aged 10 to 15, while the sixth is an hour-long workshop on automated banking services by bank staff.

Seniors learn how to use a keyboard and mouse, surf the Internet to watch videos, search for information and send e-mail.

They also learn how to use SMS banking services and self-service banking at POSB Bank, such as drawing funds using a passbook instead of an ATM card.

Retired technical officer Alan Loh, 69, who has completed all six modules, says he no longer has to endure long queues at the bank just to draw money.

He said: "It is faster and more convenient as I don't have to queue. I also learnt how to use Google Maps to find my way when I am lost."

Separately, several other programmes for seniors were launched yesterday.

Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin launched two programmes for the elderly at his Kembangan- Chai Chee ward in Marine Parade GRC.

One of the programmes, Project Heart of Love by charity New Charis Mission, aims to make over 50 rental one-room flats of the pioneer generation in the neighbourhood, complete with basic furniture and fittings, this year.

The other is a pilot programme by charity Filos Community Services called Care in the Community. This aims to provide one-stop care for seniors by conducting social wellness programmes, befriending services and helping to monitor health conditions.

Audrey Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 24, 2016, with the headline 'Seniors learn to tap 'mouse power''. Print Edition | Subscribe