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More assistance for seniors in going digital

DPM and Minister for Finance shared this in his Fortitude Budget speech.

In Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) and Minister for Finance, Heng Swee Keat’s Fortitude Budget speech, he touched on seniors and the digital inclusion. “During the stay-home period, families are making fuller use of digital technology – for home-based learning, entertainment, ordering meals, and keeping in touch with families and friends. The value of access to digital technology is clear.”

He added that during COVID-19, being able to connect with each other safely has enabled support, especially for vulnerable members of our community. “In a post-COVID world, having all on board digital channels will open up exciting new possibilities for different members of the community to engage with and support each other,” he said.

“Going forward, digital inclusion should be an important way for us to strengthen social resilience. Regardless of age or resources, all members of our society should have access to digital resources, with no one left behind.” He singled out seniors – “Seniors, who are more vulnerable if infected, are staying home during this period, and many will have to continue doing so, to protect themselves from COVID-19. But such isolation can affect their health. The Silver Generation Office has been keeping in touch with seniors with care needs and weaker family support telephone calls, and will continue to do so.”

So, moving forward and to enable seniors to be able to stay in contact with families and friends, agencies or organisations they are in contact with, and volunteers, the Minister shared that IMDA will launch a Seniors Go Digital movement to support seniors to adopt digital channels, and equip them with the digital skills to do so.

He also shared that a Digital Ambassadors movement will be launched as well to rally the community and volunteers to support the seniors to acquire digital skills. For seniors from lower-income households who wish to learn but are unable to afford the devices, financial support will be provided to them so they are not left behind.

He said that more details on these will be shared at a later time by the Minister for Communications and Information and IMDA (Infocomm Media Development Authority). Currently, IMDA has a number of virtual support and activities for seniors:

  • IMDA has been partnering with NLB (National Library Board) and Mediacorp to develop Season 3 of “Learn Together With Me” show, an eight-part series where host Dennis Chew and his celebrity guests share tips on common digital services and applications like making video calls with your family, using PayNow for cashless payment, reading online, and how to use teleconsultation services to see a doctor online. The programme is being aired on Channel 8 at 2.30pm on weekdays till May 29.

 

  • Seniors keen to improve their digital knowledge and skills can now tap on a variety of free webinars or specially curated content for skills upgrading. IMDA’s online Digital Pod Learning Series offers 40 short classes streamed live online twice weekly, to equip seniors with essential digital skills. The series covers topics ranging from how to tap on accessibility features on their phone, how to use social media, coding, photo editing, protecting themselves from online risks, etc. Developed in partnership with the Central Provident Fund Board, Facebook, Google, Grab, Microsoft, Salesforce and TOUCH Community Services, IMDA expects to engage 8,000 seniors through the Digital Pod programme over the next five months. Seniors who are interested can visit www.imsilver.sg/dp for details. Seniors can also get step-by-step guides or select from a suite of online resources from IM Silver website at www.imsilver.sg/godigital.

 

  • Seniors who wish to go digital and need help with apps or services can now easily book an online ‘consultation’ session to speak to a volunteer and receive help for their digital needs. The Virtual Digital Clinic is conceptualised in partnership with NLB, Cognizant, Grab and Microsoft. The Virtual Digital Clinic, conducted over the Microsoft Teams video platform, provides seniors one-to-one guidance on basic features of commonly used mobile apps or phone settings. The Virtual Digital Clinic will run weekly till July 18. These sessions are available in English, Malay, Mandarin and Tamil. Seniors can select and book a session based on their language preference. IMDA expects to engage 40 seniors via the virtual sessions weekly. For more details about the virtual digital clinics, visit www.imsilver.sg/vdc.

 

(** PHOTO CREDIT: IMDA)

 


 

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