Volunteers needed to help teach seniors about technology

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(ABC 6 News) – During the pandemic more people felt alone as we could not connect in person, and for many adults, technology usage skyrocketed. But there is one program in Olmsted, Winona, and Wabasha counties that is helping seniors keep in touch with friends and family.

The non-profit organization Elder Network started the Technology Assistance Program about a year ago.

This program is one on one with a volunteer for an hour a week.

It’s personalized to how well a person knows how to use an Ipad to do things such as send an email or video call.

If someone is interested in the program they must be 55 years old or older and the cost ranges on a sliding scale based on your income.

You get an Ipad, a mobile hotspot if needed, and a volunteer to help you learn new things each week about your Ipad.

But volunteers are needed as the program continues to grow.

"We will take any volunteers that come in. There is a screening process, the volunteer would need to know how to use an Ipad an Apple Ipad," Elder Network Technology Assitance Program Assistant, Donna Proeschel said.

"That intergenerational is so rich in learning for everybody it also lends to the quality of life for the senior they are more connected to their community," Executive Director of the Elder Network, Kathy Scheid said.

The first month is free to allow an older adult to try it out.

Not only do they focus on the technology they also help seniors avoid scams.

"We built in the protections for them so it is kind of like iPad with training wheels and they get a lot of technical support in the background if they have an issue like oh my iPad isn’t working we can see oh it is not charged you just need to plug it in or I don’t know where my ipad is we can help them with that," Scheid said.

They also help protect them from unlimited ordering and managing passwords.

You can learn more about the program here.