Volunteers help those aged over 65 with tech issues

No question is too big or small for us to answer - so says Founder of GenerationTech JOHN HARRINGTON who is supporting those over 65 years old, to navigate technology during these Covid times
Volunteers help those aged over 65 with tech issues

During the height of the Pandemic, Covid19_Tech (now known as GenerationTech) helped 1000`s of older people with their technology.

GENERATIONTECH is a volunteer run helpline which provides a consistent, quality service to the older people of Ireland (defined as those 65 years of age and older) that assists them, on demand, with their technology issues. The scope of this service includes, but is not limited to, help with laptops, smart televisions,WiFi, software, mobile phones and telecommunications.

The Covid-19 Pandemic brought a new awareness of others, their proximity and their condition. However, there are those that this volunteer group believe need more support, and more consideration, given their special vulnerability.

There are currently just over 0.75M older people (65+) on the island of Ireland. Whilst a lot believe “the worst is over”, there is still a high degree of risk for our older people, especially those who are not in their fullness of health.

This has led to an increase in the use of modern technologies by older people, as they are very quickly up-skilling themselves with new devices and software. However, like many others, they may hear about, but not have access to, communications software, social media services and more importantly education about how to install and use such devices and software.

During the height of the Pandemic, Covid19_Tech (now known as GenerationTech) helped 1000`s of older people with their technology. Now, whilst relatives and friends are far more accessible, the team assist with giving full self-determination to older people, by continuing the service offered, still free of charge.

Technology can be daunting for many older people and the group are here to make the experience less difficult. The volunteer team helps with a wide range of tech issues such as internet connectivity, video calling, printers, mobile phones and many others.

Help is also on hand if assistance is needed with the covid tracker app.

The streetwise campaign, setup by An Garda Siochana was setup to raise awareness on phone safety.

Older people who need help with getting in contact with their Internet Service Provider, to setup pins or install a location app can contact the helpline for assistance. No question is too big or too small.

The initiative was setup by IT professional and Cork native, John Harrington who realised the need for this type of service whilst helping his mother with a tech issue over the phone.

Staying connected was crucial during lockdown and the team received many calls from the older community who were isolated from their families. It is important to note that in some cases there are still older people out there who are continuing to self-isolate and we continue to get calls about video calling software such as Zoom, Facetime and Whatsapp.

Callers are welcome to contact us as many times as they need and there is no time restriction set.

We work with each caller at their own pace and each volunteer understands that technology is unfamiliar territory for some. In saying that, we often get calls from those who are very tech savvy and have a complex issue that needs resolving.

We partnered with a wonderful initiative called Comfort4Covid who donated tablets to nursing homes and hospitals around the country. These tablets were setup for video calling and GenerationTech are still providing support for all of these devices.

Along with this, we officially partnered with Alone who focus on helping older people who are isolated.

From time to time, We will get callers who are emotionally distressed and the team at Alone help us with those.

We also work with Third Age Ireland who run a Seniorline phone support who provide advice and a befriending service to the older community.

GenerationTech (formerly known as Covid19Tech) with the very kind support of sponsors (Zendesk, Twilio and Blacknight and Phonepulse) are able to continue the service, and whilst “normal” will never be the same again, they will continue to work with our citizens in the 65+ age bracket to ensure their participation in the digital community is as frictionless as possible, and that they can share their wisdom and insight to the volunteers, as they help and support them.

Support is donated by volunteers who mostly have IT backgrounds. We also welcome people with backgrounds in PR, Social Media, marketing and volunteer management.

Due to the growing demand of the service and to prevent burn out of our current volunteers, we are still looking for more people to join the team. Anyone who is interested in offering some of their time to help our older community can sign up to volunteer on our website at https://www.generationtech.ie/volunteer.

The team of volunteers, who are all volunteering from home will respond to calls irrespective of your location on the island of Ireland and are based across the country.

GenerationTech can be contacted on 01-9633288 or email ineedhelp@generationtech.ie and can also be found on Twitter https://twitter.com/gentechirl and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Generation.Tech.Irl/

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