Real life stories

Jenny's story

Jenny is 83 years and lives with Parkinson disease.

"I use a range of different technical devices – a laptop, iPad, mobile phone and a speech microphone.  I love taking photographs of family events, Christmas time or visits. This means I can see photos of my family at any time - I often look at digital photos to see my grown up children and grandchildren. I can send my photos to them as well, so they can see what I’ve been doing.  I also like looking at photos from my favourite holidays and remembering what a good time we had.
I also use my iPad to communicate with my son and grandchildren who live in Australia. We connect by email, and by Skype video chat – where I can see their faces - it’s almost like they’re in the same room! It helps us to have regular contact.  

Technology is helping me keep on top of my health too. I’m able to watch Yoga videos on my iPad and follow the moves and instructions.  I struggle with my speech and my voice is very low, but by recording examples of me talking, and listening back, I can practise and exercise my voice to get louder. I can also improve my memory by using the internet, for examples by researching places I’ve travelled to in the past and seeing pictures of them. My carers have worked with me to encourage old memories to return by showing me images from my past - this often makes me feel comforted and recognised.

By using the internet, my carers also show me what medication I am taking, what its benefits are, and any possible side effects.  I can also find lots of information about Parkinson disease online, and learn more about it.

I also do practical things like order my shopping, so it gets delivered to my door - it helps me stay independent, and makes so life much easier."

Rose's story

Rose is 78 years 

"I use my laptop and tablet to do lots of practical things. I use the internet for various tasks like doing food shopping from Tesco which is delivered directly to my door, and for finding and buying new furniture. 

I search for all sorts of information online.  I also download and reply to emails, do my banking online, and learn more about my hobby - flower arranging.  I belong to a flower arranging forum on Facebook, where I exchange ideas with a community of others who share the same interests.  We socialise online and send messages and ideas to each other. 

If I ever have a question about technology, I ask my son-in-law and grandsons to help me. My family bought my husband a tablet with a keyboard for his 80th birthday.  

I’m learning to use Apps on my mobile phone, including reading the newspaper, latest weather reports, the Tesco online shopping app, and using discount vouchers.

The best thing about digital technology is being able to keep in touch with people.  I am at home a lot, and the internet keeps me in touch with the outside world - so I know what’s going on. It also keeps me occupied when at I’m at home with the person I care for."

Penny's story

Penny is 75 years

"I’ve learnt to use my iPad to do shopping online, and to read the weather forecast. I like sending emails with attached photos to my friends and family, and because of this I feel connected to them and the modern world. 

The Apps I use are BBC weather, online book apps, and GPS direction maps – these help to work out the best and quickest routes when driving. I also watch films and TV programmes on BBC iPlayer. 

I’d like to take further digital courses to learn even more ways of using my iPad."

David's story

David is 73 years.

"I use an iPhone, iPad and PC to communicate with others.  I mainly use my iPhone, and my tailor is making a special pouch for it so I can fix it to my belt.

I email, Skype and use an app on my mobile phone called WhatsApp, which lets me ‘chat’, send messages and photos for free.  I keep all my contacts in the contacts file of my iPhone, and put an indicator next to each of the people I know. I like using contacts so I can see who is calling me when my phone rings.

I use the calendar function on my iPhone a lot. Every appointment, social meeting, medication time and thing to do, I enter into my calendar. I put in reminder notifications to prompt me to leave the house on time, and set it on a loud setting to wake me up if necessary.  I take the phone with me everywhere and use it often to check my next appointments.

I also use a useful app called ‘Citymapper’, which shows you the quickest routes and means of transport to travel around London.  I use it to help me find new places either while I’m walking along, or when using public transport.

I watch the BBC news and weather forecast on the internet, and do all of my banking online which is quick and simple.  I book my travel tickets online too, which saves me time."

Pauline's story

Pauline is 74 years

"I have an old computer programme, which will need updating in the near future. I have bought a new tablet to help me get used to it before buying a new computer. I have been using it to send emails and use the internet and learn about using this new technology.  I also have a neck problem which means I can’t use the computer for very long - the tablet is much easier. I use my tablet for:                 

  • Checking the weather forecast
  • Finding out bus times
  • Google for doing crosswords
  • Sending emails
  • Listening to past radio and TV programmes
  • Finding out Sports information
  • Information about travel to all sorts of places
  • Finding apps on subjects I am interested in

I like to use the following apps:

  • BBC iPlayer and radio
  • BBC Weather
  • BBC Sport
  • Tennis tournament apps - Wimbledon, Roland Garos
  • Solitaire
  • National Trust
  • Bus and train local information.

Using the internet on my tablet has had a great effect on my life, as I can now access information sitting in my lounge rather than having to go upstairs and start my very slow computer up.

I can find out the times buses are coming, and instantly look up any information I want on Google.  I can also solve more clues in crosswords.  I listen to a serial radio programme each day whenever I like."

Brian's story

Brian is 68 years.

"I use my laptop and mobile a lot.  I did the RHP Digital champions training and was really inspired by it.  I now use technology for keeping in touch with friends and family, and for sending emails.

I use the internet to access council information online - I can access their documents and fill in forms that I need to send them.  I also use the RHP website a lot to find information and see what they have on offer. I often do online shopping, including buying tickets for travel, and for the cinema.  I also research and book holidays over the internet, as well as many other things.

Mainly, I use the internet for socialising, and to find out what’s on offer in my local community. It helps keep me connected."

Useful contacts:

Age UK Richmond Community Services
Phone: 020 8744 1965