In Asia, numerous local initiatives help seniors go digital


In India, young people are teaching older people how to use new technologies to stay in contact with their families and doctors. — gawrav/IStock.com/AFP

In times of pandemic and social distancing, the elderly need, more than ever, to know how to use digital tools in order to stay in touch with relatives and doctors. That's why, in several parts of the world, local groups are offering dedicated training for senior citizens to not be left out when it comes to tech solutions.

In China, several NGOs help senior citizens who don't feel comfortable using new technologies. In the Jiangsu region, several hundreds of training centres offer classes on how to use a smartphone. The aim is to teach the elderly how to use instant messaging applications such as WeChat or how to make an appointment online with their doctor via dedicated applications, or how to scan a QR code. All these things have become part of our everyday lives in the era of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In Singapore, the government encourages these types of initiatives via its "Seniors Go Digital" programme. Around a thousand digital ambassadors help old people in the City-State with digital tools. As in Mainland China, they focus on the most frequent tasks, such as shopping online or consulting one's doctor online. Both personal coaching and group training are offered. The project aims to help around 100,000 seniors by mid-2021.

Meanwhile in Mumbai, India, a former executive from vehicle manufacturer Mahindra & Mahindra is devoting a lot of time to senior wellbeing, via NGO Adhata Trust. This NGO focuses on limiting elders' isolation by training them how to use video-conferencing apps such as Skype to stay in contact with their children, grandchildren and friends without needing expert knowledge of computing tools. – AFP Relaxnews

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