Pensioners are showing the younger generation that their age isn’t holding them back when it comes to learning about the latest technology.
Men and women – some aged in their 80s – are attending weekly community learning classes to find their way around an iPad.
They are taking a four-week iPad course run by Bath College in conjunction with the Bath Ethnic Minority Senior Citizens’ Association (BEMSCA).
Up to ten pensioners are learning how to shop online, send and receive emails and use Skype to communicate with their relatives all over the world.
Retired hospital worker Zubeda Shah, 77, says she’s now a proud iPad user as the course has taught her how to digitally store her knitting designs.
She said: “I wanted to keep up with the world. I’d seen my children on the internet and I wanted to be on there too.
“You can’t just give up and stop doing things when you are old. I’m not just going to start sitting still, I want to keep learning.
“It’s amazing really how everything is now so much faster… it used to take six weeks for a telegram to get from India to Africa, now communication is done at the touch of a button.
“It’s very different from what I’m used to, but fun.”
Joyce Wellington, 72, who attends the classes with her husband Rudolph, 76, said she had enjoyed moving from a laptop to an iPad as “there’s always something to learn.”
She said: “I can email and Skype, research things online, I’m on Facebook too. Using the iPad is great to keep in touch with my family in the West Indies.
“I am catching up with the young ones and proving to them that age is nothing but a number. Relatives ask me questions about the iPad and don’t expect me to know the answers, but I do.
“Even my great grandson had to admit he was impressed and said ‘well done nanny.’ That was nice; he’s only nine years old but thinks he knows everything.”
Many of the pensioners who attend community learning classes at Fairfield House in Newbridge have progressed from learning how to use a computer, then a laptop and now an iPad. The ‘Getting Started With iPads’ and ‘Moving On With iPads’ courses are both run by tutor David Kingston.
BEMSCA Project Co-ordinator Pauline Swaby-Wallace said she was proud of the pensioners for keeping up with the latest technology and admitted: “They know more than me.”
She said: “Five years ago the word iPad wasn’t even in their vocabulary, now they are using them to keep in touch.
“They’ve replaced writing letters with Skype, and it’s wonderful to see them using the internet as a day-to-day tool.
“We try to address the needs of the community with these courses and you can really see how much these people are enjoying developing their iPad skills.
“Our members are always looking for something new to do, they always want to learn, which is so good for them as they can be lonely and feel isolated.”
Bath College and BEMSCA have worked together for many years offering a wide-range of courses including arts and crafts, flower arranging, mosaic making and sugarcraft.
The College’s Adult Community Learning programme, which is responsive to the community’s needs, also includes courses in food hygiene, money management, and basic skills in English and Maths.
For more information on Adult Community Learning courses run by Bath College, call (01225) 328720 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Pictured above: Pensioners learning how to use iPads at the Bath College community learning course at BEMSCA.