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July 4, 2022

100-year-old Marie wants an iPad for Christmas

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A group of seniors with the combined age of 415 years have joined the wired world after taking a four-week Tech Savvy Seniors computer course run by ACE Community Colleges.

The six students are one of two groups at Southern Cross Care St Michaels in Casino and include one woman aged 100.


The course takes the training to the facility, where participants learn basic computer skills to assist them in keeping in touch with their families, keeping their brain engaged and socialising with other participants.


Marie Shepherd is the oldest in the class at 100 years. Marie did a six-week computer course when she was 90 and now, 10 years later, things have moved on a bit so she is doing it again.


Marie says, ‘I’m hoping to get an iPad for Christmas’.


Beryl Williams, aged 92 (and a half!), bought herself a laptop three years ago and now has her own wi-fi at the facility.


‘I had always wanted to learn about computers. I ran the office at Casino West School for many years and we finally got computers in the office the year I retired,’ Beryl said. ‘I use my laptop mostly to email with my family all over the world.’


Beryl did an iPad course a few weeks ago and wants to learn how to use Skype next.


Cheryl Bateman is 66, and although she doesn’t have her own computer, her husband brings his laptop in each Friday and they Skype with their son and five-year-old granddaughter in Dubai.


‘I’ve been able to watch my granddaughter grow up,’ says Cheryl.


Jean Attewell is 83 and had never opened a computer before.


‘I really wanted to see inside a computer to see what it was all about. I’ve enjoyed the games and I’m hoping the grandkids get new computers for Christmas so I can have their old ones. I want to try internet shopping next.’


The students will have their final lesson today and learning how to use Skype is high on their list to help them communicate with their families.


Melissa Dickson is the lifestyle and leisure officer at Southern Cross Care St Michaels. Melissa says the course has been great for the residents.


‘It is giving them knowledge about how technology has changed and helps them to keep in touch with their families. Some had never turned a computer on before; and it is not just teaching them how to use a computer but is helping them socialise and build relationships with other residents.


‘I did the iPad course with Beryl and after seeing how good it is for hand/eye co-ordination I would love to get a couple of iPads here at the facility for all residents to store their photos on.


‘Aged care is about living and it is important that our residents know that opportunities do still exist for them.’


Anne Stapleton, the manager at ACE Community Colleges Casino, says it has been a great project to be involved in.


‘We had the opportunity to apply for funding for [this year’s] pilot Tech Savvy Seniors project and it has been such a success we have applied for more funding next year.


‘We chose Southern Cross Care St Michaels as it is where we place a number of our Certificate III in Aged Care students during their course.


‘Part of aged-care living is taking the community to them. We talked about their goals and developed the course to suit them. We have loved the way the staff and residents have embraced it.’


Trainer Judy Boag is our Certficate III in Aged Care trainer and co-trainer John Shurmer is our computer trainer.


John said, ‘I have never done anything like this before – it has been a very rewarding experience and I’m looking forward to being a part of it again in 2013’.


The course is part of the NSW Aging Strategy and was made possible with funding from NSW Government State Training Services. ACE have applied for more funding for 2013 and hope to be able to run Tech Savvy Seniors in more isolated communities in this area in the new year.

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