Jewish Care scheme to help the elderly get online in battle against ‘exclusion’
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Jewish Care scheme to help the elderly get online in battle against ‘exclusion’

Volunteers to help those over 80 use iPads and social media so the community's elderly aren't 'excluded' from the digital world

A Jewish Care resident learning how to stay connected digitally with Pawel Moczulewski, Manager of the Living Well team

Credit: Blake Ezra Photography
A Jewish Care resident learning how to stay connected digitally with Pawel Moczulewski, Manager of the Living Well team Credit: Blake Ezra Photography

Jewish Care volunteers are preparing to get retirement-age Jews online and e-activated, after a recent report highlighted how many of the nation’s elderly are isolated from the digital world.

The new pilot scheme, beginning on Monday at Jewish Care’s Golders Green campus, will see over-80s who live independently and younger people with disabilities participate in a ten-week iPad course.

The need for some facetime was identified after a recent report by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealing that nearly a third of older people have never used a computer leaving them “excluded” from today’s digital world.

“There’s nothing unusual about walking into a room where four or five people are sitting on sofas and bucket chairs, iPads in-hand, watching films on YouTube, playing games and reading jokes or the news online,” said a spokeswoman.

“But when you know that their average age is 85 and 10 weeks ago most of them had never even picked up an iPad, it’s easier to understand why there is a real buzz of excitement in the room.”

Jewish Care resident staying connected digitally Credit: Blake Ezra Photography
A Jewish Care resident learning how to stay connected digitally with a volunteer Credit: Blake Ezra Photography

According to the ONS, only 27 percent of older people say they use social media, compared to 96 percent for 16 to 24-year-olds.

In addition, the report states that “the proportion of adults who were recent internet users across all age groups was lower for those that were disabled, compared with those that were not”.

Marietta Adami, resident at Jewish Care's Rela Goldhill at Otto Schiff with a volunteer at Explore
Marietta Adami, resident at Jewish Care’s Rela Goldhill at Otto Schiff with a volunteer at Explore

Only 27 percent of older people say they use social media, compared to 96 percent for 16 to 24-year-olds

Sandi Wassmer, Jewish Care’s digital services development manager, said: “Breaking down the barriers to move people from fearing to embracing technology, from digital exclusion to inclusion is vital to connecting people to the world around them and empowering them as social citizens in the 21st century.”

The ten-week course, which is called Explore and is run from The Maurice and Vivienne Wohl Campus in Golders Green, aims to make participants “actively engaged online, exploring their interests, watching films, reading the news and staying in touch with family across the globe”.

Contact explore@jewishcare.org or 0208 922 2400 to book your place or find out more.

Digital inclusion for older people at Explore: Cynthia Benjamin, 86 with Eirini Dermitzaki, Jewish Care Digital Engagement Lead
Digital inclusion for older people at Explore: Cynthia Benjamin, 86 with Eirini Dermitzaki, Jewish Care Digital Engagement Lead
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