Feature

Techno-savvy gran uses webcam to talk to daughter

Marie McDonald - 83 yr old tech savvy senior. Uses a PC, a laptop and a Kindle. Photo: Alistair Brightman / Fraser Coast Chronicle
Marie McDonald - 83 yr old tech savvy senior. Uses a PC, a laptop and a Kindle. Photo: Alistair Brightman / Fraser Coast Chronicle Alistair Brightman

NEW technology can sometimes make seniors a bit nervous.

But that's not the case for tech-savvy great-grandmother Marie McDonald.

The 83-year-old Hervey Bay woman has a computer, a webcam, a laptop and a Kindle.

If her eyesight was a bit better, she reckons she would even invest in an iPhone.

She isn't on Facebook yet but it's only a matter of time - the reason she is yet to create a profile is lack of time, not any sense of trepidation.

Marie's daughter Julie lives in Melbourne.

The two use their webcams every Sunday afternoon to stay in touch.

It's far cheaper than the cost of a phone call and they get the added bonus of being able to see each other.

The only downside, Marie says, is the close up shot that appears on the screen, which she says shows a few too many wrinkles.

"At almost 84 I don't need to see that," she said wryly.

Marie understands that elderly people can sometimes feel a bit daunted about the latest technology.

But having worked in an office environment for many years, Maree has never had those phobias and has embraced new advances.

She has been using a computer for more than 12 years.

"I just took to it straight away," she said.

Barbara Poley, a volunteer with Hervey Bay 60 and Better, said it was vital for seniors to stay up to date with the latest technology.

Assistance was available at 60 and Better to help seniors learn how to Google, set up an email account and much more.

Seniors are able to make an appointment for four free sessions that can start off with the basics, Barbara says.

Barbara says the lessons can start with how to use a keyboard and a mouse if that is necessary.

The advantages of being able to use a computer are huge for seniors, she says, as it allows them to stay in touch with family and friends using email and Facebook, or Google arts and crafts or other interests or pay their rates and other bills from the comfort of their homes.

She says as seniors get less mobile, the ability to be able to transfer money or pay bills at home was especially valuable.


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