With Christmas known to be one of the loneliest times of the year for older people, Age UK Oxfordshire and Sanctuary Housing have joined forces to teach local elderly residents how to use digital tools to stay in touch with loved ones.
Age UK’s Good Neighbour Scheme
Figures released by Age UK show around 1.2 million older people in the UK are chronically lonely but, thanks to funding from Sanctuary, Age UK Oxfordshire has introduced its Good Neighbour Scheme to some of the leading housing provider’s older residents in the county.
Residents at some of Sanctuary’s housing for older people, based in Banbury, Bicester and Kidlington, have already received introductory sessions to the scheme, which will bring the residents together to share and learn new skills while having fun, prior to the activities officially starting in 2017.
Taking advantage of the online world
Although the Good Neighbour sessions will be generally driven by the residents, they will help them take advantage of the online world and teach them how to use the internet to reduce isolation and keep in touch with family and friends.
As well as learning how to take photographs and videos, the older people will also be taught the basic skills needed for use of a PC, tablet or smartphone, how to email or Skype, ways to use the Internet to search for areas of interest and online shopping.
Sanctuary’s support for the project forms part of the housing provider’s wider commitment to helping its residents get online and see the benefits of digital technology.
The association’s recently launched Sanctuary Online initiative aims to train around 700 residents and improve their digital skills so they can take advantage of the online world.
“Give them the confidence boost they need”
Rudy Poncini, the IT project lead at Age UK Oxfordshire, said: “We are looking forward to helping Sanctuary residents get to grips with IT and hope they will soon benefit from the difference it can make to their lives. Teaching them just a few of the basics could really give them the confidence boost they need to develop their digital skills, keep in touch with the people they love and learn to do things to help reduce the risk of isolation.”
“Make a huge difference to their lives”
Kate Winstanley, Sanctuary’s neighbourhood partnerships manager, added: “We always look to work with projects that help to support our residents to live happy, healthy and fulfilled lives, providing them with access to the care and support services they need.
“We’re really looking forward to seeing the Good Neighbour Scheme get underway with residents at some of our Oxfordshire housing for older people. You’re never too old to learn, and it’s amazing how teaching older people a few of these key digital skills can make a huge difference to their lives and help ensure they don’t feel too isolated.”
Find out more
To find out more about Age UK Oxfordshire visit their website.