CHENNAI: The classroom you walk into is different from any that you have ever seen. The teacher looks on indulgently as everyone peers into their cell phones. And every student in the room is well over 60.
HelpAge India’s four-day course for senior citizens on ‘How To Use Smart Phones’ is in progress at Nimmadhi War Widows Welfare Association in R A Puram, and 35 eager students have signed up. Eight-two-year-old Padma Sudarshan, for instance, has come armed with her daughter’s smartphone. “Once I learn how to use it, I am going to buy my own device,” says Padma, who is more interested in learning how to use Ola and What’sApp. “I like to go everywhere on my own and it will be easier once I learn to use an app to book an auto or cab,” says bright-eyed Padma, who has a passion for mastering all things new, having got a PhD at 70 and authored a book at 80.
With an app for everything, many senior citizens are now keen on learning to use a smartphone. And that’s why HelpAge has been organising similar workshops in various parts of the city. “Many elderly people are fond of gadgets and while people in the family may gift them phones, not everyone has the time or patience to teach them how to use it, especially as elderly people take time to learn,” says R Muthukrishnan, senior manager, HelpAge India, who conducts the classes.