Our older citizens do need help from time to time adjusting to the challenges that come with ageing. However that does not mean that they have nothing to give back to society. At Living Connected, we prefer the term elder to that of senior citizen or older person. It implies that engaging with our elders benefits us as well as them and we learn a thing or two.
Living Connected has a team of mentors who help elders learn how to use their digital devices. We fill the gap between what can be learnt in computer classes run by local libraries, the WEA, U3A etc and the everyday problems faced by the older generation coming to grips with new technology.
With each new learner we try to find out a bit about them so we can show them how to do things with technology that match their specific needs and interests. One of the big differences between life when they were young and today’s youth is the record of what they did and experienced.
Today people take pictures and videos of everything they think is important, and many things that are really not! This life record is made available to all and sundry online.
The life record of most elders consists of a few photo albums, a box of old letters and maybe some old newspaper clippings.
We are keen to give elders the skills to convert these paper records stored somewhere in a cupboard at home into digital form and help them use these to record their life stories. We help some of our elders to type up their stories and insert related images into the document. Other are helped to create a slide show and record a narration of what each scanned picture and document. Others we interview on videos and help them to edit them into movies of their lives.
All this carefully created digital material is a valuable glimpse into life before the Internet changed the way we record everything. It is amazing what this material reveals about the history of the Illawarra and the places our elders lived. It is our loss if all these stories are not captured before they disappear forever. Put an older person you know in touch with Living Connected to learn new ways to make a contribution to our region’s living history.