Staying connected with SeniorNet

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EVEN in their 90s, Charlie Ham› mond and Mary Matthews are still learning — exploring the world of computers through the voluntary organisation SeniorNet.
Mr Hammond (91) remembers using a slate to write on at school.
Eight›plus decades later he is thoroughly enjoying learning using the latest technology.
The retired JP, qualified char› tered secretary and former Eden› dale town clerk has been using a computer for more than 20 years.
‘‘Although I had a computer way back in 1995 there was no internet in those days.’’
He and his wife moved from Edendale to Invercargill in 2003, and he ‘‘turned up’’ to SeniorNet in 2005.
It’s been a continuous learning experience ever since.
‘‘Mr Google is the most fantastic man I have ever met,’’ he said.
Although Mr Hammond regu› larly emails, he said the ‘‘traffic was not heavy’’.
‘‘I find it very useful for emails — instant communication with any› one.’’
His next goal was playing around with PowerPoint presentations.
Mary Matthews (92) was a foun› dation member at SeniorNet and has been a committee member for five years.
‘‘I had a computer but didn’t know how to use it, so went along to learn. I have learnt a lot of things. The most amazing thing was how to draw.’’
She has a daughter in Canada who she regularly emails, and recently typed up her festive letter.
‘‘Some were emailed and some went in the post.’’
SeniorNet allows people over 55 to learn at their own pace from tutors in the same age group. Topics include word processing, emailing, digital photography and spreadsheets. Workshops and cour› ses are also held, including how to use a tablet, a mobile phone and Google.
The Invercargill branch is hold› ing open days on January 20 and 27 at its centre at 100 Esk St.
SeniorNet South chairman Bruce Smart encouraged people to come along and have a look, or have a go.
‘‘The saddest thing I hear is, ‘I am too old to use a computer’,’’ he said.
Being able to use a computer was important in so many ways, he said.
‘‘For some, getting their news from the gate may be a chore, especially if they have mobility issues. People don’t even need to phone daily to make sure their family members are okay, they can send an email.’’
Computers were also useful for banking, getting library books, shopping around the world. For those who liked travel, they could make their flight travel and book› ings online, write a blog or keep an eye on their finances when they were away.
SeniorNet membership was $20 per year, with specific 10 week courses costing $50, Mr Smart said.
‘‘For $50, that works out at $2.50 an hour, with coffee and biscuits included.’’

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