Giving seniors online tools to help them cope with the pandemic
We recall how our dear parents (now departed) were not embracers of technology. When the folks finally broke down and bought a PC in the late ‘90s, dad said he had no interest in mastering “the device.” Mom fared a little better but was frightened off by pop-ups and other net nuisances. So “the device” sat, pristine and beautifully dust-free, in a faraway corner of the basement.
So it is understandable that many older seniors aren’t comfortable with computers.
An Ontario group hopes to help change that.
According to the Niagara Falls Review, the group Cyber-Seniors was designed to get younger people to teach their elders about how to use technology.
“We started Cyber-Seniors as a fun way to get seniors connected on the internet,” states the group’s co-founder Kascha Cassaday in the article. “But when COVID hit … it was more about they need to be on the internet in order to get the basic necessities to survive this pandemic.”
The group was started by Cassaday and her sister, Maccaulee, who just wanted to get their grandparents to use Facebook to stay in touch, the Review reports.
They did so by in-person sessions, attracting hundreds. When the pandemic forced them to move online, they started attracting thousands of people, the article says.
And the effort is producing results.
“(I was) afraid of breaking the computer because I didn’t know how to use it,” says 92-year-old Beamsville senior Patricia Harvey. Despite that, she joined Cyber-Seniors to try and figure out computers.
“I like to keep busy. I’m not a knitter or crocheter,” she tells the Review.
Now, using the Internet, she can talk to, and see family members who aren’t able to visit due to the pandemic. “You don’t feel quite so alone,” she says.
Recent research cited in the Review article says online tech can definitely battle isolation, but also can keep those over 65 “safe, stay at home longer, and live independently.”
The young volunteers are finding the work very rewarding, the article concludes.
Has COVID-19 changed your retirement plans?
CTV’s Pattie Lovett-Reid recently asked her Instagram followers if the pandemic had changed their retirement plans.
The short answer, she found, was yes. “Some are accelerating their plans, and others want to delay for as long as possible,” she writes. One follower who had retired has found the isolation and lack of travel so frustrating that she is planning to return to work. A small business owner had planned to sell his business and retire to the cottage, but can’t clear his inventory, the article notes.
Some have health issues and want to retire ASAP, while others are worried they’ll lose their jobs due to the pandemic and will have to delay retirement plans.
“Life can change in a heartbeat,” Lovett-Reid advises. It may be time to review your plan and make tweaks if necessary, she concludes.
The Saskatchewan Pension Plan can help you on both fronts. First, most of the plan’s services can be accessed online via MySPP. You can check your account balance, update your personal information, learn about SPP retirement options and much more.
If you’re tweaking your retirement plans, the SPP site is equipped with online calculators so you can figure out your income at different retirement dates. Check it out today!
Written by Martin Biefer
Martin Biefer is Senior Pension Writer at Avery & Kerr Communications in Nepean, Ontario. A veteran reporter, editor and pension communicator, he’s now a freelancer. Interests include golf, line dancing and classic rock, and playing guitar. Got a story idea? Let Martin know via LinkedIn.