Learning doesn't stop with age

Dr Beryl Barratt is 88 and digi-literate, thanks to SeniorNet

At 88 years of age, Dr Beryl Barratt never thought she'd still be described as a model student. But this pupil with a keenness to continue learning is exactly that, says Dr Vinay Karanam, her SeniorHangouts tutor.

The Wellingtonian had absolutely no idea of the workings of computers until last year. Thanks to SeniorNet, which facilitates face-to-face technology classes for those aged 50 plus, and SeniorHangouts, the virtual version, she has learned a lot about digital technology over the past 18 months.

AMI is proud to offer 50-plus customers free SeniorNet membership for 12 months, to help them build the confidence to do more online including managing their insurance, through an ongoing partnership. *

"Beryl has a smartphone and Zooms in to interact," Vinay says. "We have become good friends thanks to SeniorHangouts and her smartphone."

Beryl - a retired soil scientist - confesses to previously knowing "nothing" about digital technology and admits it was fear that inspired her to get with the times. Technology was changing and she didn't want to be left behind.

"We are now in a digital age whether we like it or not," she says, adding that she had to learn from scratch and discovered there is much to marvel at.

"Things have certainly changed. Technology has sped up everything and it's more far reaching than older technology could ever have been."

Sending and receiving emails to family in England has been a thrill and she loves the instantaneous communication that allows. Internet banking is something she has also been keen to master - "you have no option with the removal of cheques services" - and she's been practising on a dummy page on her bank's website.

She also enjoys searching for video clips on YouTube and learning about the many things her smartphone can do, like scanning the Covid QR code and taking photos of her garden that she then sends via email.

Vinay says many could learn from Beryl's digital knowledge transformation. "If at age 88 she can go from ground zero to reach this stage, then I think she is an inspiration to everyone," he says. "If she can do it, anyone can do it."

* AMI will pay the 12 month SeniorNet membership fee for any AMI customer over the age of 50 who joins before September 2022. Simply mention you are an AMI customer at your local SeniorNet Learning Centre and AMI will take care of the rest.