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Thu, Aug
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Free tech support available for older people

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STAYING CONNECTED Now more than ever, older people are enjoying how technology can help us feel connected.

Oisín McGovern

Older people getting to grips with technology can avail of free technical support during lockdown thanks to a group of volunteers.
Covid-19 Tech Help is offering a free phone service to assist older people who are having trouble with mobile phones, laptops, video calling and other issues. The ongoing Covid-19 restrictions have caused a surge in the uptake of such technologies as video-calling among those who are unable to leave their homes.
To provide assistance to any older people who are experiencing difficulty, more than 60 tech-savvy volunteers from around Ireland are available from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week (contact details below).
Aughagower native Orla Gibbons, who volunteers with the service, says the demand for technical support among older people continues to grow during these difficult times.
“More older people are logging on, especially in these times. The most-common question relates to video-calling and how to set up WhatsApp, Zoom and FaceTime. A lot of them want to talk to their families, so a huge amount of calls are about that,” she said.
While setting up video calls with friends and family is a common problem, Covid-19 Tech Help’s volunteers are willing to help with all sorts of issues.
“If someone is having issues, even if it’s something complicated there will be somebody there to help,” Orla explains. “We have people who have expertise in phones. If people ring up we’ll stay on the phone for as long as possible.
“It could be setting up emails on their phone, it could be help with printers, PCs freezing, or setting up Facetime. We can also deal with very simple questions, such as how to text on a new phone.”
The group was set up by Cork native John Harrington, who realised the demand for such a service after helping his mother with an IT issue over the phone.
Orla, who currently lives and works from home in Dublin, says Covid-19 Tech Help are looking for more volunteers to cater for an expected increase in demand.
“As the word goes out to more people the phone lines are going to get busier. After we do radio interviews calls go way up. It’s important that people sign up because we don’t want the volunteers we have getting burned out.”

MORE Over 65s having difficulty with technology can contact Covid-19 Tech Help on its free support line on 01 9633288, via email on ineedhelp@covid19tech.ie or via Facebook or Twitter. Anyone who wishes to volunteer with the service can sign up at www.covid19tech.ie.