How I discovered the digital world at 77

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Keeping up with innovation and the newest devices and technologies can be done in many ways. A lot depends on each individual’s situation, as we all have our unique perspective.

At 77, Istvánné Lázár is now retired, but still wants to keep up with the latest trends, with the help of an Interreg project. ‘I am grateful that I can discover the internet world thanks to the Co-Age project’, she says.

Elderly people living in rural areas often lack the opportunities to grow and learn how to handle new technologies. With trusted persons, volunteers, and a wide range of events, the project Co-Age lends a helping hand to these people. One of them is Mrs Lázár, who told us her story of discovering the electronic means of communication.

Lázár Istvánné. Photo: the project Co-Age
Lázár Istvánné. Photo: the project Co-Age

‘I live a very active life in my village. I work in my small garden and also travel and go wherever I can, using the opportunities I can get as a single pensioner. The phone allows me to keep in touch with my children and to call the tour operators when I plan a trip’. Being an explorer and travel-enthusiast, it is not surprising that Mrs Lázár’s wanted to go further than that in the digital world. When seeking for opportunities to deepen her knowledge, she found the Co-AGE trusted persons who could and did lend a helping hand on her newest journey. Trusted persons are employed by the project partners and they are present in rural areas, covering a significant part of the Austro-Hungarian border, including the following regions: Südburgenland, Graz und Oststeiermark, Győr-Moson-Sopron, Vas megye. One of these project colleagues introduced e-communication to elderly people in the home village of Mrs Lázár, so her journey in digital world got a new swing.

I am very pleased to gain new experiences thanks to my new smartphone.

‘When I heard that Dobosné Gyöngyi, the representative of the Co-AGE project in Harka, announced a free computer course, I immediately seized the opportunity! I also learned from her how to get a smartphone at a better price and I bought one. I am very pleased to gain new experiences thanks to my new smartphone.

Photo: project CO-AGE
Photo: project CO-AGE

During the trips, we teach each other how to use the different functionalities of the smartphone. I am already able to take pictures and send them, I use the internet, I chat with friends in the evenings and I use the step counter as well.’

Being able to use the smartphone helps people cope with the feeling of loneliness when they live alone or when they are forced to spend long periods of time alone. It can also help them connect with the outside world. Apart from learning how to use devices and applications, elderly people also help each other to improve their skills.  Mrs. Lázár already knows what to do next: ‘I’m now planning to go to the bank to learn how to do internet banking.’