Schoolchildren are being challenged to become “Super Connectors” and keep the magic of Christmas alive by teaching elderly relatives how to use technology. And the proof of the pudding is one fully-charged supergran who last week made her traditional Christmas pud on Zoom with nine grandchildren – three of them in Belgium.
Mary Dunne, 78, from Ardee, was determined not to allow lockdown restrictions ruin the tradition of her grandkids making a wish once she stirred her mixture three times. Now the gran-of-17 is backing the Louth County Council campaign which asks youngsters to teach older relatives how to use technology so everyone stays connected over the festive season – and beyond.
Mary Deery, the council’s Age Friendly co-ordinator, said Wee County tech champions aged nine and above can lead the charge, which she hopes will resonate nationally.
“We need children using software such as TeamViewer to take control of their grandparents’ screens, download software, set up accounts and teach them how to use apps in real time,” she said. “Most of us are used to Zoom and Teams meetings, but how many of us can say that they are simple for older people to set up? It can be a wonderful act of gifting to older people who need technology in their hands for practical things but also to combat the loneliness and isolation of Covid-19.”
Parents also play a key role and are asked to ensure that older relatives have the devices they need to get connected. Clare-native Mary Dunne believes it is a golden opportunity to bridge the digital gap between the generations.
“The first step is getting rid of your fears, after that it is plain sailing and young people can play a great role in connecting older people remotely, especially if they are apart from loved ones over Christmas,” she said.“When I was doing the Christmas pudding, I got the three grandchildren in Brussels, three in Malahide, Dublin and the others in Ardee, on screen. I put a little Santa figure on the bowl so he was stirring with a wooden spoon and I counted one, two, three and they all made a wish – there was great excitement.”
She has fully embraced technology, using a laptop, iPad, iPhone and Apple watch to stay in touch with family and friends, and has won an Age Action IT Enthusiast award. Louth County Council’s Public Participation Network (PPN) co-ordinator, Grainne Carroll, said the campaign also aims to connect children with relatives living overseas and unable to return home this year.
“If you want to do something really meaningful this Christmas, make sure you can say you connected someone,” she said.
Irish Independent | 23/11/20
Irish Mirror | 23/11/20
MSN | 23/11/20
Drogheda Life | 23/11/20
Age Action Get Started Kit
Age Action Ireland worked with the HSE to develop this resource specifically for older people who need some help with online activities so they can use the App as part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Download Full Get Started Kit Here Or click the individual PDF’s below.