By Robert Frank
Internet technology isn’t just for kids. The world wide web is a powerful tool to combat the isolation that many senior citizens experience.
To make that possible, Hellenic Social Services of Quebec (HSSQ) has organized an introductory computer course that will start Oct. 4.
“The course is given in Greek,” HSSQ director Eleni Fakotakis-Kolaitas told The Suburban. “Seniors who want to learn Greek can participate too.”
“The internet provides them with a great way to communicate with family and friends through tools like electronic mail, phone—and video—conferencing,” Fakotakis-Kolaitas smiled.
“Besides putting them in touch with their grandchildren, it permits them to explore the world, shop and make payments online and learn what is happening out there.”
“It also helps them to retain their mental and physical alertness and discourages isolation,” she said. “It’s particularly helpful in winter. Depending on the weather and whether the snow has been removed can be a source of great anxiety for seniors who can’t get out.”
She noted that although few seniors own computers, many initially avail themselves of public internet services.
“It’s rare that seniors who complete our course go out and by a computer right away,” Fakotakis-Kolaitas acknowledged.
“Some take advantage of computers in libraries like Laval’s multicultural library at 1535 Chomedey Blvd. All libraries provide computer access to people who don’t have computers.”
“It’s also important to learn about fraud,” underscored Fakotakis-Kolaitas. “Many seniors are victims of telephone fraud and we also raise awareness of computer fraud during our course.”
It’s important to sign up early, because the course is limited to six participants, she said. Prospective participants must be over 60 and reside in Laval. The course costs $65 ($55 for Hellenic Community of Greater Montreal members).
For more information or to register, call  688-2088 and ask for Chryssa.
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