A long time ago I wrote about my Silversurfers, a small group of residents in sheltered accommodation who I am supposed to be teaching computers. However teaching is pushing it a bit, it is far more about having fun now.
Unfortunately the people who run the accommodation have really tied down the network, and every time we try something new it is blocked, this is a real shame but we are working on it.
They are competent to use email and google, and they follow my blogs. If I am going away we have a look at where I am going and have a look around the hotels etc. Sometimes they even send me an email.
One lady Rita, has a sister in Australia and we have had a virtual walk up her street and you can almost see into her house. Her husband suffers from alzheimer's and lives in a home on the same site. She needed support and we searched for support groups locally and found one. She gave them a call and now not only did she go along to their meetings but they come and collect her.This would never had happened without the Internet
Another lady Jean, is very happy 'surfing' and has picked a few weekends away from the Internet, she still not happy to use the Internet with her credit card but more than happy to use it to plan.
The third lady Katie, is new, she had retired to Florida but recently returned, and she used to work in the local library and was already a computer user but we need to start all over again, she uses hotmail for her email account and unfortunately hotmail is one of the sites they are locked out off.
Over Christmas the first two ladies have got themselves wee notepads and 'pay as you go' broadband. The sister in Australia is now ill and Rita wants to be able to talk to her, today we are successfully learnt to skype each other across the room.
Last week we looked at the iphone and they had a conversation with a friend of mine from Scandinavia, this really opens up the world for them and widens their view of the world.
They love following Stanley and I brought him in once and they love it. When I blogged about them they were over the moon.
What do I get out of this? I feel I am giving something back and enjoy seeing them feel part of the modern world. If you get the opportunity to do something like this, take it, you will feel better about yourself and you make a real difference to them. Also they always greet me with a lovely cup of tea and a bun.