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Oshkosh Seniors Center now offers “Connect Through Tech” courses

Published: Oct. 9, 2020 at 6:14 PM CDT
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OSHKOSH, Wis. (WBAY) - The Oshkosh Seniors Center received a grant toward the beginning of the year that’s helped create new programming.

“This all began with how terrible loneliness and isolation is for your health,” said Anne Schaefer, the Oshkosh Marketing and Fund Development Coordinator.

The Oshkosh Seniors Center knows many older adults struggle with isolation, whether there’s a pandemic or not.

Which is why Schaefer says the $150,000 grant received from the Helen Daniels Bader Fund to start the “Connect Through Tech” program was so welcome.

“This particular program does a bunch of things. One, it gets someone to come in, and then they’re talking and interacting with us. And two, it opens up a whole new world for them so they can reconnect with friends and family,” said Schaefer. “To teach seniors how to connect through Facebook, through FaceTime, through video chatting.”

The seniors center has had some technology programming before, but the new funding allowed the purchase of new tech-conducive furniture so seniors can bring in devices and hang out.

The program offers group or one-on-one courses for people 50 and up. If someone doesn’t have a device or doesn’t think they can afford one, Schaefer says they are also willing to accompany people to Best Buy and other places to help them navigate a potential tech purchase.

“We’ll have someone come in with the latest iPad pro, or we have someone come in and say ‘Here’s my flip phone I bought ten years ago at Walmart,’” said Schaefer.

Schaefer’s learned that simply teaching someone how Facebook connects them with loved ones can have a big impact.

“We showed that person how all her nieces and nephews have pages with beautiful photos of all her relatives and I’m going to tell you, it brought a tear to her eye,” said Schaefer. “Those are the kind of successes we’re having.”

There is a $2 fee for the courses to help keep the program sustainable long-term.

People can call the Oshkosh Seniors Center to register at 920-232-5300.

“We’re having great successes with it, so give us a call,” said Schaefer.

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