Sessions designed to help Niagara’s seniors build digital knowledge, connect socially, address cyber-safety, and more. Photo credit: Senior Planet/AARP
As the world enters the second generation of personal computing and internet-based technology, the need to help elderly citizens utilise these powerful tools is growing. That is why this fall, the Municipality of Niagara Falls will launch its inaugural technology training program for seniors.
The class, which will be run in six-week intervals of two-hour sessions (one hour of instruction and one hour of discussion), is slated to take place at the MacBain Community Centre at 7150 Montrose Rd.
DJ Brooks currently serves as Community Development Coordinator in the Recreation and Culture Department at the City of Niagara Falls.
“We already do a lot of older adult programming through the City,” Brooks shared in a recent interview with The Niagara Independent. “And we have a digital media group (to help) with their technology needs,” he added. “The group is great but informal. We wanted to try and get a more structured opportunity together.”
The program will be made possible by a variety of types of labour. “Cyber Seniors is our main contact,” Brooks said. “We also will have volunteers to help run the program, plus our Brock Recreation Intern, myself and the Manager of Older Adults and Aquatics Hanya Nagy.”
With original offerings that span the coming fall and winter, the City hopes that the training classes will become a permanent way to support the community. “We are committed to running the program through March 2024,” Brooks explained. “If we see active participation in the program, we would continue it indefinitely,” he furthered. “If the need is still there, we will absolutely continue to run it.”
As internet, phone and messaging scams continue to target seniors, cyber-safety will be a key component of the program. “Cyber-safety is only one aspect of the program, but it is part of it,” Brooks said. “Each week will be a different topic – cyber-safety is one of those topics.”
“We are using the Cyber Seniors expertise in program design and digital knowledge to help with lesson planning and then we, with our volunteers, will deliver the program to the community.”
When asked what would make the program a resounding success, Brooks had some notable thoughts to share. “Anytime we can help people connect socially we find it a success,” he related. “One of our goals is to help older adults maintain health – physically, socially and mentally – and this program can help in some of these areas.”
“Many older adults in our community are intimidated by technology – we just want to help them ease that anxiety and be able to use the technology to better their lives.”
Nick Redekop completed his Honours Bachelor of Arts Degree in Labour Studies at Brock University. He has previously served in municipal and federal politics. In his free time, Nick enjoys following sports, taking part in outdoor activities, and reading biographies. Nick resides in Niagara Falls