iPads are available for loan during Seniors Engagement Through Technology sessions

Surrey-area seniors are learning more about computer technology during a five-week class planned by Progressive Intercultural Community Services (PICS).

Free of charge, the “Seniors Engagement Through Technology” sessions offer seniors a chance to learn the basics of computers and the internet, “and feel more confident to engage through technology.”

Registration is limited to Surrey residents aged 55 and over, and the classes are delivered in English, Hindi and Punjabi. What’s more, iPads are available for loan, for up to a year.

Project co-ordinator Monisha Gupta planned the first sessions in December, as part of the Seniors Engagement Through Technology initiative, or SETT.

Because of the pandemic, the classes are held online – for now at least.

The next five-week session starts in mid-March.

“It is an initiative dedicated towards educating and supporting seniors in use of technology to enhance social connections and engagement within the community and their personal network,” Gupta explained.

“The focus of SETT is to ensure seniors receive accessible technology support and training that is inclusive and simplified for their understanding.”

With COVID-19 reducing opportunities for social interaction, more people are turning to computers to connect with others. But naturally, some seniors aren’t all that comfortable with such technology.

“Everything is digital now,” Gupta said, “so these classes are a perfect fit for the pandemic to keep (seniors) connected with family and friends.”

Initially, in-person classes were planned. The switch to online learning presents some challenges, as the seniors have to get started on technology they’re trying to learn.

“The program intends to benefit as many seniors as possible, especially during times of COVID,” Gupta added.

With funding from the federal New Horizons for Seniors program, the SETT initiative is brought to Surrey by the Surrey Intercultural Seniors Social Inclusion Partnership (SISSIP) Network. More details are posted to seniorssocialinclusion.ca.

To register, phone Monisha Gupta at 778 -316-5126, or email monisha.gupta@pics.bc.ca.

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