A Government initiative to teach community members how to use computers and access the internet is being offered at Willochra Aged Care Home in Crystal Brook.
The Be Connected program which extends further than just those who live at the home, offers an initial learning experience to interested community members and then provides extended support to help them throughout their online journey.
The general manager of Willochra Home Pam Charnock says that particularly in the country many elderly people are not familiar with computers and by partaking in the program, Willochra can provide more than just the educational side to computers.
"We thought this was a good way for people to come to Willochra home and be involved in our network and community hub that we are developing here. It would also give them the capacity to see and communicate with the outside world," Pam said.
Willochra were able to start providing the program through a grant which funded them the training and a computer; which once a person has completed the educational side, people are able to come and use whenever they like.
Currently, eight community members have registered and are attending appointments with Alysha Richards who is facilitating the project in the homes.
Pam explains that once participants have learnt the basics including how to turn the computer on, use a mouse and keyboard, they then progress to using Facebook, Youtube and some have even opted to learn how to go online shopping.
"It gives them the ability then to go onto Youtube, Facebook or search their ancestry or help with My Health record. What we found is we had a great take up of this.
"The grant gave us the ability to purchase a computer for us to use. Alysha goes on and enrolls them online on Be Connect and then as we get more and more people on board, we can apply for more grants and hopefully grow the education sessions."
Alysha explains that what she teaches them is based upon their personal interests and what they want to learn.
"I have had some who want to go on Youtube, look at music or funny clips. Mostly it is online shopping. Everything is online now and it is just apart of life. It is to help them reconnect with family and friends," she said.
Introducing Be Connected is a part of a bigger picture that Willochra is wanting to paint.
They want to open their doors to those in the community who are not residing in the home, to come and participate in their exercise groups and other activities.
Pam believes that this slow introduction de-mystifies aged care and helps people become more comfortable with residential homes.
"We have an aging community and people are wanting to stay home for a lot longer. They are not coming to aged care facilities, but are wanting to still do things. So we are inviting them in.”
If you are interested in participating, contact Willochra Homes on 8636 2320.