News & Events

Winternet cafe set to connect

May 24, 2018

Residents in Euroa and North Fitzroy are signing up to join Winternet Café, a research program run by La Trobe University.

The research, funded through the Australian Research Centre, is part of a collaboration with OCAV that has been established by La Trobe University’s Associate Professor Raelene Wilding and University of Western Australia. It is aimed at improving online access and digital literacy for older Australians. Ethics approval: UWA RA/4/1/8132.

Residents from the two OCAV villages were invited to be a part of the exciting program after Dr Wilding attended the first Conversations for Change, and was impressed by the organisation’s progressive attitude to technology and positive ageing.

Dr Wilding said the Winternet Caféwas conceived after a recent report found that older Australians are only half as likely to use the Internet as younger Australians.

“We want to understand why older Australians use the Internet less, and explore whether using the Internet might help older people to keep in touch with family and friends, access information more easily or otherwise improve their lives,” she said.

Residents do not have to take part in the research to attend the café. Those who have chosen to participate will talk with researchers before and after the eight week program about the experiences of using the internet, social connections and social support networks, They will learn something new each time, share knowledge and experiences with other older people and talk about technical problems with an advisor.

Dr Wilding said that she anticipated the collection of interviews will give the researchers important insights into the barriers that older people face in using the Internet and keeping up with new technologies, and some of the strategies that people are using to overcome those barriers.

“Where possible, these findings will be provided to organisations and policymakers to help improve the lives of older people by improving their access to the Internet,” she said.

Sanctuary is how artist Gillian Coates describes her home at Currie Park, OCAV’s village in Euroa. “When I go to Melbourne and I am heading back to Euroa, I can’t wait to get home to the peacefulness of this place. It is like a sanctuary for me."

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