$5,000 grant gets Senior Center a computer lab
Technology to be used to teach seniors online basics
Any senior who does not understand how to use social media like Facebook, doesn't have an email address, or who has been in the dark about online basics like web surfing, shopping and bill paying, can start enjoying all the benefits the online world has to offer now that the Cassville Senior Center has a computer lab and is teaching them those basics.
According to Kristina Atwood, center administrator, a $5,000 grant from Senior Age made the lab and computer classes possible.
The center purchased three, touch-screen Dell computers, three Samsung Galaxy tablets and a printer for seniors to utilize.
"Now, we have a computer room and are offering computer classes to seniors," Atwood said. "We applied for the grant and it was awarded this summer. We got everything purchased in July, but it took awhile to get the room set up, which was finished in October."
During the application process, the center had to explain how they would use computers, and how they would benefit seniors in the community.
"We just finished our first six-week session," Atwood said. "The class teaches computer basics, like how to surf the web, use Facebook, email and some word processing. We will offer them every six weeks, and, after a break due to the holiday, our next one will start in December. Anyone who is interested can call the center."
The class is offered Mondays from 10-11:30 a.m., and there is already a waiting list.
"They seem pretty interested in learning how to use the computer," Atwood said.
What makes some seniors more tech-savvy than others may be related to access, Atwood said.
"I think it depends on how much access you have to a computer, so some [seniors] never learn computer basics," she said.
Besides just knowing the basics, it's becoming more and more difficult to do life offline, with banks offering apps to check balances, transfer funds and deposit checks, companies moving to online bill pay, and hospitals using patient portal systems, not to mention the convenience of online shopping.
"So much is being moved online, like banking, prescriptions, doctors, etc., so I think its really important that seniors are at least comfortable using computers, creating an email account and doing some word processing," Atwood said.
Seniors can also come in to use the computers and printers for convenience during center hours, such as to print a letter, pay a bill or look up something. A per-page fee for color copies will apply.
When it comes to getting seniors up-to-speed with modern technology, Atwood doesn't want to just stop with computers.
"In the future, I hope to do some sessions with smart phones," she said. "I'm always looking for volunteers that want to help teach."
In more traditional activities, Bingo has been reinstated at the center, thanks to the sponsorship of Three Rivers Hospice of Cassville. The game will be held the first Wednesday of every month from 10:15-11 a.m., with prizes awarded.
"We had bingo a couple of years ago, and it stopped because of lack of interest, but it is regaining popularity," Atwood said.
To sign up for computer classes, or for more information about any of the center's other activities, people may call the center at 417-847-0131.