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Source: New Zealand Government

The Government’s investment in digital literacy training for seniors has led to more than 250 people participating so far, helping them stay connected.

“COVID-19 has meant older New Zealanders are showing more interest in learning how to use technology like Zoom and Skype so they can to keep in touch with their loved ones,” Minister for Seniors Dr Ayesha Verrall said.

“The Wellbeing Budget in 2019 provided $600,000 to deliver computer training and skills for people who need it.

“Programmes such as Pacific Senior CONNECT and Better Digital Futures are doing a great job upskilling people across the country.

“Some programmes also help older New Zealanders get affordable internet connection so they’re able to access services and information at home.

“From the evaluation completed for the first cohort of 24 participants of the Pacific Senior CONNECT programme, it showed a significant increase in digital social connection skills.

“The percent of participants that said they could communicate with others digitally, for example through email or Messenger increased from 39% to 78%. The number of participants that said they could speak to others through video tools like FaceTime, Zoom or Skype increased from 4% to 78%.

“Of those who have completed The Better Digital Futures for Seniors programme, the use of email increased from 47% to 86%, and the use of video tools increased from 14% to 34%.

“These are really great initiatives that make sure that our seniors aren’t left behind. We can all play a part in that too.

“Many older New Zealanders find technology daunting. I urge Kiwis this summer to reach out to their older family members and neighbours to see if you can support them,” Dr Ayesha Verrall said.