REDLAND seniors are being offered an innovative program to help the elderly become confident users of technology.
STAR Tech is an initiative by STAR Community Services to give seniors autonomy in using technology in their daily lives so they can build and maintain healthy social networks.
"With the problem of social isolation among the elderly on the rise, using technology can be an effective measure to encourage them to build and maintain new social connections," said STAR general manager Patsy Wilshire.
"STAR Tech is a timely initiative to ensure the elderly are not getting left behind in the digital world.
"The program will encourage seniors to become more confident users of digital technology- at their own pace and in a way that supports their independence."
People 65 years and older are Australia's least digitally included age group. While more than nine in 10 people aged 15 to 54 are internet users, the number drops to under six in 10 of those over 65 years.
Lack of experience in usage of digital devices and anxiety about technology are key barriers for the elderly.
Carolyn Byrn, 73, joined STAR Tech so she can expand her digital knowledge.
"I know there is more to the Internet than just emails. I am looking forward to learning about video calls to connect with my family and friends. It will be handy to learn how to research useful information online," Ms Byrn said.
STAR Tech is open for elderly residents, including Southern Moreton Bay Island locals.
Those taking part will receive tablet computers and training and support through small workshops, home visits and phone and video calls.
The program will run until June 2020. A program fee applies and numbers are limited.
Volunteers are also needed to support STAR Tech program participants.
"Volunteering for STAR tech is a great way to help the elderly with limited digital skills to embrace technology, use it in their daily lives and connect with like-minded people", said Tanya Spethman a STAR Tech volunteer.
STAR Tech program is run by STAR Community Services and supported by the Health Department.
Call 3821 6699 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.