Thursday, January 13, 2011

Aging in the Computer Age

Computers for Every Age is the name of a program for helping older adults learn to operate and enjoy our digital age. Yes, the Government of Israel and American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee started this program to help golden agers take advantage of the computers and especially the Internet. Last week I became a volunteer instructor in this program. I tutor one on one in a special classroom with a  few computers in the offices of Aleh (על"ה) which is Rehovot's very own Association for Aiding the Elderly. It's been around since the 80's with the mission of improving the quality of life for Rehovot's elderly.
Lecture about Internet use at Cafe Aleh this week
Besides the dedicated lessons there are also two computers connected to the Internet to be found in the Cafe Aleh in downtown Rehovot. The lovely cafe, run by volunteers serves coffee and cake all morning and folks come in to be together, socializing or playing cards or reading the newspaper. They have two computers connected to Internet and a few times a week there is someone there to answer questions and give tips about using the computers. On Wednesday mornings I am that 'expert'.
Many of the folks I meet are using a computer for the first time. I show them how to use email and to search for articles and sites in their field of interest. Another popular topic is using the Internet for making doctor appointments through the various HMOs here. Not surprisingly a big hit with this crowd is using Skype to keep in touch with the children and grandchildren.
Besides helping introduce people to the fascinating world of modern communication. meeting people at Cafe Aleh is an education in modern history. These people, in their seventies and eighties are the generation that built the state. They are the younger survivors of the holocaust, the young soldiers of the infant Israel Defense Forces and the young people who came in groups with Aliyat Hanoar (Youth Aliya) before their parents or without their parents in the early days of the State. They are people who remember the ma'abarot (temporary housing) in one of the worst winters Israel has seen (1950 when it snowed even in Rehovot).
I am learning just as much as I am teaching!

2 comments:

Batya said...

Risa, sounds great. You'll have to blog some of the stories.

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