Never alone, always connected – in Romania isolated elderly people use new technologies

The association “Niciodata Singur – prietenii vârstnicilor” maintains the group socialization and good health of the elderly through technology. 35 single elderly people from Bucharest received tablets connected to the Internet and were trained by volunteers in the use of applications.

Due to the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic, the association cancelled all group events involving these individuals until the end of the year, including summer trips, dinner parties and theatre evenings.

Volunteers meet the challenge of training in the use of new technologies

In order to continue to stay connected and involve older people in activities, the association decided to launch this training project in new technologies. At the beginning of June, each elderly person received a tablet (worth approximately €100), a monthly 3 G connection plan and a user manual, specially created to explain the use of the tablet and applications to the elderly. The volunteers involved in this project helped the seniors to create skype accounts, whatsApp, email addresses and to use them.

 

The project was very well received by the seniors, even though most of them had never used the new technologies before. With a lot of patience, the volunteers visited each of them several times to help them use the gift they had just received. Courses continued, upon request, throughout the summer. Most seniors are highly motivated to learn, especially because this way they can stay in touch with relatives or old friends.

The launch of discussion groups

Recently, the Niciodata Singur – prietenii vârstnicilor  has started to organize online meetings on Skype. “We let them know the time of the meeting and they can’t wait for the call. Things are getting better and better every day and more and more of them are participating in every online meeting” says Beatrice Culda. Each new lesson with their volunteer helps them become more confident in using technology in their daily lives.

The Romanian media are relaying this initiative.

The project has attracted the attention of the Romanian press. “Libertatea” (Freedom), the most widely read national newspaper, published a front-page article on our elders, who are very fond of technology, and for a weekend, the two national television channels (TVR 1 and TVR 2) devoted a full report to the project on the evening news.

A successful experience in full development

Soon, other seniors will receive tablets and training, and online linking will develop a different circle around our elderly. We will organize online games and quizzes, debates and even book clubs.
This project is supported by a grant from the Special Fund for the Elderly of the Princess Margareta Foundation of Romania. Monthly internet subscriptions are paid through donations received from donors.

 

Credit photos: Dumitru Angelescu – Libertatea