Self taught Senior Computer Whizz
21 February 2017
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Peter shows resident Henry how to use a tablet
Peter Herbert knows his way around an electronic tablet better than most 77 year olds. The retired engineering patternmaker, who lives at Oceania Healthcare’s Elmwood Rest Home and Village in Manurewa, is passing on his technology knowledge to other residents. Herbert ran his first ‘Computers Made Easy’ class at the village in Hill Rd with his friend Enid White-Stern last December.
Since then they’ve covered topics including using a laptop computer, tablet, smartphone, Google and bluetooth, how to email, and the different devices on the market.
‘‘I bought a laptop many years ago and I’m basically self-taught through trial and error,’’ Herbert says. ‘‘They [some seniors] are frightened of computers and technology. I try to reassure them it’s not as bad as it appears to be.’’
Herbert says he appreciates the support Oceania Healthcare gives to the initiative. He hopes the village will install a computer with wi-fi for residents who don’t have their own device to use.
‘‘Three people in the class went shopping last week,’’ he says. ‘‘One bought a PC and the others bought tablets. ‘‘We started off instructing them in what they could do with them. It was all verbal. There was no demonstration. ‘‘Then it moved to the next stage by showing them what could be done and asking if they had any questions.’’
Herbert has helped a village resident identify her dentist through an online search and shown another how to use the internet to pursue his interest in classical music.
‘‘We tailor it to each person’s needs and how they wish to apply it for themselves,’’ he says. ‘‘When they see what can be done, they start to get enthusiastic.’’
Elmwood diversional therapist Sarah Ellis says Herbert had his students ‘‘hooked and amazed’’ when he first rang a smartphone from his tablet. ‘‘Peter’s very passionate about sharing his knowledge with the other residents. He says it will help keep them connected with friends, family and the wider world.’’
Herbert says donations of surplus electronic devices to the village’s residents are appreciated. People able to contribute an unwanted working laptop computer or tablet can phone 269 0830.
Find out more about Elmwood Rest Home