Program helps seniors use the internet to stay connected

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By Susan Hay.

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TORONTO- Cyber Seniors, an educational campaign, tries to help older adults stay connected by teaching them how to use the internet.

Macaulee and Kasha Cassaday started the Cyber Seniors program and try to encourage older adults to tackle technology and give youth with a way to give back to their community. The sisters say they saw how learning to use the internet changed their grandparents’ lives and wanted to do the same for other older adults.

“Our goal is to get as many seniors on the internet as possible – especially when seniors age they can become isolated,” Macaulee Cassaday said. “We really want to get them on the internet to stop that isolation and get then connected again.”

The internet can help families stay connected despite distance and busy schedules. Julia Marrocco started volunteering with the program when she was in high school.

“I’m always on the computer, so to me it was like – I’m doing this anyway I may as well help someone learn what everybody else is using and help them get connected into that whole world that exists out there,” Marrocco said. “I grew up with a computer in my house, to me a computer is as simple as picking up a pen, so having to learn how to really explain something and take your time I think is rewarding.”

The intention behind Cyber Seniors is to build a strong team of community partners across Canada and the United States and spark a conversation about tech literacy and inter-generational collaboration on a widespread scale.

“Technology has gotten me into this program and because of this program, I’ve had so many fascinating, fabulous experiences,” Rapoport said. “What I do enjoy is really having the mentor because I’ve  got a person with me, it becomes a social thing.”

Annette now sends emails to her family and friends, she’s active on Facebook and recently learned how to use YouTube to listen to music.

“What we’re trying to do right now is not have control over it, but basically tell everyone to start their own program to get involved and to bridge this digital divide.” said Kasha Cassaday.

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