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Smart Living | 15 Dec 2019

Tech masterclasses for older people ‘have been brilliant’

Vodafone’s free TechConnect masterclasses have enabled many older people across the country to use their smart devices more confidently.

Many older people have never used the internet, not because they don’t want to, but because they’ve never been shown how or they lack confidence.

So Vodafone’s TechConnect programme, aimed at people aged 50 and over, teaches a wide range of skills, such as how to send a text message, chat on WhatsApp, set up an email address, or download apps.

Vodafone’s roving TechTeam has visited 20 towns and cities so far, from Glasgow to Basingstoke, also helping older people set up wearable tech and connected home devices, explaining how they work at every stage. Such devices can often help people live independently for longer. They can even save lives – alerting family members or carers if a loved one has had a fall, for example.

One man who attended a TechConnect event said:

“We’re going to use WhatsApp more now, we’re going to send pictures to each other, we’re going to communicate around the world using that technology, so it’s been brilliant.”

But not everyone who attends is a tech novice. One couple who went along to an event in Basingstoke told the TechTeam they were looking for expert advice on how to make the most of the smartphones they’d owned for for a little over two years. They thought the workshops would help them “progress to the next stage”.

Next year, Vodafone will send the TechTeam back on the road to deliver more TechConnect workshops. You can register your interest here, and maybe your town could feature on the TechConnect roadshow in 2020.

If you can’t make it to the free workshops, or they don’t manage to get close enough to where you live, you can also call in to any Vodafone store and book a one-to-one appointment with one of our tech specialists. Find your nearest store here.

Vodafone’s report into technology and loneliness, published in March 2019, argued that digital technology can help alleviate loneliness among older people – with the attendant health benefits this brings.

Using data from the Office of National Statistics, the report noted that one third of older people aged 65 or above identified themselves as only “a little confident” or “not at all confident” in their ability to use electronic devices for essential online activities.

The TechConnect workshops have been one of the ways Vodafone has been able to offer practical help that makes a real difference to people’s lives.