Making technology accessible to pensioners

Making technology accessible to pensionersIsolated elderly individuals could find solace in a new service which helps them to utilise the world wide web.

In today’s society a huge number of us could not imagine a day going by without access to the internet. From working online to staying in touch with friends and internet shopping, the world wide web makes what could be time consuming and difficult tasks easy and accessible to almost everyone.

However, despite the increasingly important role of the internet, for the elderly generation it can be an intimidating place which is difficult to set up and to navigate.

According to the charity Age UK, six million over 65s have never been online, an indication that a huge number of individuals are missing out on the benefits the internet could bring them.

As well as making life easier in terms of grocery shopping online, keeping in touch with relatives they are unable to travel too and reordering repeat prescriptions with their surgery online etc, the internet also can have positive effects on the health of elderly people, helping them to fight both isolation and mental decline.

In order to try and make the web more accessible to elderly people who are yet to use it, Sheffield University have developed a programme which they hope will enable pensioners to get to grips with it in a simple and easy to understand way.

The MAAVIS (Managed Access To Audio Visual And Information Services) programme has now been installed in nine care homes around Yorkshire for a six month trial period and is free to download to your computer.

The care home programme requires a touch screen and the home version can be used with a pointer, keyboard or touch screen.

Features include access to Skype, which allows users to contact and speak to friends and relatives for free over the internet and is now used by many GPs and counsellors for consultations. Large icons which can be seen clearly and a simple and easy to use layout are also welcome features.

Those using the programme in care homes also have the option of purchasing a £10 memory stick which allows them to keep personal photos, papers and songs.

MAAVIS developer Dr Cudd believes the software could eventually be used for helping physically and mentally disabled children as the touch screen offers more independence from an earlier age.

Helena Herklots from Age UK is in agreement that the web provides a great way of keeping in touch with friends and family. ”One of the key contributors to mental decline in older age is social isolation, and the internet provides a fantastic way of staying in touch with loved ones who can be far away. And getting online will give access to a multitude of health services, such as chemists”. She said.

For information about Age UK and their services please visit www.ageuk.org.uk and to download MAAVIS visit maavis.fullmeasure.co.uk

View the original Daily Mail artcile.

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Emma Hilton

Written by Emma Hilton

Written by Emma Hilton

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