Tech helpline manned by the elderly for the elderly

An elderly man uses his laptop at a coffeeshop. The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore partnered the Organisation of Senior Volunteers (RSVP) and The Council for Third Age to launch an IT helpline on Sept 21, 2013. -- ST FILE PHOTO: NG
An elderly man uses his laptop at a coffeeshop. The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore partnered the Organisation of Senior Volunteers (RSVP) and The Council for Third Age to launch an IT helpline on Sept 21, 2013. -- ST FILE PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

Sixty-five-year-old Sim Ah Siew bought a spanking new Toshiba laptop at a IT fest last year but it has been gathering dust at home ever since.

The cleaner said her initial enthusiasm faded as she did not know how to navigate the myriad of websites online.

"I was afraid of spoiling it if I try and there was no one to ask as my children are all busy at work," she said.

To help seniors like her, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore partnered the Organisation of Senior Volunteers (RSVP) and The Council for Third Age to launch an IT helpline on Saturday.

It is one of the many initiatives launched by Minister of State at the Ministry of Communications and Information and Ministry of Education Ms Sim Ann at the annual Silver Infocomm Day to encourage seniors to embrace technology.

Seniors who have IT problems can call in and receive step-by-step guidance on basic troubleshooting. If they need further help, they can bring their faulty computers down to RSVP at Bishan for fellow seniors to repair.