The list of recommendations enables to amplify the experience of adult education organizations in terms of improving the access to modern technologies for senior people.  Enabling access to modern technologies means breaking the different barriers that could avoid it, solving cost problems and offering different trainings. Here you can find tips, advice and recommendations on how to solve different problems concerning access to modern technologies for seniors and how to improve the services.


A)         Access to hardware


General comments:


Problems with accessing hardware can be found in most partner countries except of Germany and Finland (schools and public libraries are very well equipped in hardware and software there). Generally, hardaware is expensive and difficult to reach for senior citizens and organizations don´t have many possibilities how to solve the situation.



·                there is a possibility to get second hand recycled computers (computers from big companies like banks, government or town structures). This is recommended mainly for non-profit organizations,

·                there can be found different commercial projects of low cost computers (e.g. ASUS project in France), see official web pages of your departments.

·                usually, seniors don´t have appropriate information on how to buy computers. It is advisable to arrange a seminar, workshop, discussion club for seniors about buying a computer (where to buy it, how to do it, what to avoid of). Project partners have good experience with this kind of activity (see Cafe Anschluss below). Senior people can be informed about this type of course with the help of flyers not only in your organization, but also at doctor´s, hospitals, in churches, senior clubs or senior residences, at hairdresser´s. These places were recommended by seniors themselves.  

·                different contribution concerning access to hardware can be found in the Czech republic where senior teaching is provided by students of a secondary school. The secondary school is specialized to ICT and the fact, that each student gets their own notebook, has been used in the project. Access to modern technologies for seniors is guaranteed as the students provide seniors with their notebooks. They also help them or advise them how and where to buy a computer.


Other comments:


Here are some other  recommendation of appropriate computers for senior or sick people.

·                some people acquire MACINTOSH computers (mostly on recommendation of their family using these computers when working in graphics businesses); these computers are very beautiful, easier to use then normal PC’s (once you have been a little bit initiated), have no Viruses problems BUT they are more expensive and it is difficult to find teaching courses as the demand is very little.

·                A  company called ORDISSIMO proposes a simplified computer (based on LINUX – also no viruses!) for seniors where you have only prefabricated buttons (one for mail, one to surf, one to write a letter…). It can be useful for Alzheimer sick people as simplifying the access and avoiding problems.


B)          Internet Access

General comments:

Internet access is, in some way, a real problem. The costs in Czech republic, France, Spain and Poland are very high. On the contrary, in Finland, there is situation mucha better as home internet connection is really cheap: 10 - > euros/month (x France 30 EUR, Spain 40 EUR, Czech republic 40 EUR and more).

Senior people also have problems with choosing the type of the Internet connection and they are afraid of security problems (e-banking or buying on the Internet).


·                a list of free Internet spots; informing seniors about spots with free Internet access -   public libraries, universities, municipal houses, seniors clubs, cybers cafés - is advisable and the list can be distributed around places mentioned above. It could be mentioned, that it is very good marketing activity. Moreover, it is possible to prepair a special lesson (or part of the lesson) with the topic searching for Internet points.

·                some town or cities offer special projects of free Internet connection (iniciatives for free WIFI hotspots etc.),

·                avoid security problems (e-banking, Internet buying) is advisable to arrange courses or trainings (e-bay, e-banking etc.) with the help of experts.

Other comments


C)         Basic ICT training  (for low cost participation)

General comments:

Old people are afraid of computers and trainings and it is needed to arrange courses especially for seniors (otherwise they don´t feel free to ask and to learn). Unfortunately, low cost courses are possible in all partner countries with volunteer teachers only.

Improvement: Types of courses

·                Courses for beginners where everything is explained step by step  - preparation for normal computer course (this course needn´t be long, e.g. 5 afternoons once a week)

·                Courses that are seniors most interested in: special courses for using digital camera; training in using communicators (skype, ICQ); digital banking; use of cellular phone; "Do not be afraid of computers" (course for those who have never used one); English with computer; IT vocabulary (meaning of unknown words - e.g. chat, discussion forum, forum, multimedia)

·                Courses in the frame of governmental politics (e.g. France - governmental politics called “Personal services” – especially for old people staying in their homes. The help of the state comes in the form of an income tax reduction of 50% of the price paid for private lessons; for instance , if a senior pays 45 euros to the organisation, they will get back 22.50 euros in paying less taxes or, even, if they pay no taxes they will get the money, this up to 1000 euros per year). For people founding themselves in difficult situations , French organization provide free service at home with the help of volunteer persons.

·                Courses in different places - cooperation with public cultural or social centres (different places enables to spread the activities around your town, city). 

·                CAFÉ ANSCHLUSS - special activity for senior people developed in Germany. There are meetings twice a week in the school (there is coffee and cakes prepaired) on different topics: Internet, mobile (e.g. from telephone list to SMS), use of digital camera, scanner, e-bay, USB and Bluetooth, how to choose PC, email, home banking etc. What senior people really appreciate is a fact, that this activity is for old people only, so they don´t need to worry or feel shy. Teacher explains everything slowly and "step by step".  Discussion and questions follow. Internet is free to use during this time. This activity can be a free trial for visitor who are not sure whether to participate or not in other courses.

Other comments: experience on courses for seniors people

·                Senior courses are in the afternoon (no need to go out in the dark)

·                Courses are very slow, no theory, a lot of pictures and practice

·                Courses for little groups , not more then 4 students per teacher. 


D)         Basic training for new technologies (telephone, Skype,..)


General comments:

Cellular phone courses are frequently visited in some countries (e.g. Finland  - the authorities persuade Finnish inhabitants to use cell phones as  repairing phone lines is expensive in a densely populated country). But partner organizations meet some problems - the biggest one - persuade seniors to use cell phones - they don’t use it as they cannot remember or see the long telephone numbers, buttons are too small and sometimes they don´t hear correctly. Below you can see some tips on how to make mobile courses more clear.

Improvement: Advice on developing mobile courses:

·                Important is to ask the participants to bring their manuals as telephones are very  different

·                Only hands on learning is effective

·                Proceeding very slowly and repeating several times is crucial

·                Teaching to use short numbers motivates the learners


E)          Free volunteer assistance  : finding  and training  volunteers for home computer assistance and training (under others for disabled people who cannot come to group courses)

General comments:

Volunteers are crucial for most participant organisations as it is sometimes the only way how to arrange free of cheap courses for seniors. But finding volutneers is also a challenge for all partner organizations.


·                Young people as volunteers. There is a possibility to open didactic course for young people on how to train old people. These courses should be free and young people are able to get new qualification. There is also possibility to cooperate with universities - experience with teaching seniors could be taken into account while applying for university studies or taking exams (motivation of students)

·                Cooperation with local schools (secondary schools or other educational centres). This type of activity is very successful in the Czech school where young students teach seniors. The courses are tailor-made.

·                Different motivation for young people (Europass)

Other comments:


F)            Finding sponsors for hardware or different grants for adult education

General comments:


Finding sponsors and grants is the biggest challenge for all partner countries and there are no new recommendations as the ways are similar in all countries: EU and governmental grants, cooperation with NGO´s and sponsors.    


G)         State of the art in the project countries




Hardware, software, Internet: institutions can apply for recycled computers to official institutions, banks,etc. Free use of software is provided by the Andalusia Government:

          And@red (Educational programme, a network is created among all the educational institutions of the region like (schools, high schools etc

         Guadalinfo (New programme in Andalusia created in 2004, 636 public centers  in town under 10.000 inhabitants, Budget of 85 million euros)

         Guadalinex (free software based on Linux)

In Aznalcollar is ADSL net , free WIFI only for public institutions ( town hall, hospital, schools)

Training: Applying for grants to the Administration and offer the services to associations, old people groups, etc…(Training people that later will collaborate.




Hardware, software, Internet: Schools and public libraries are very well equipped in hardware and software, but many senior citizens are not familiar with the use of them. In the libraries internet can be used without cost. At home internet connection is cheap: 10 - > euros/month. Hardware, software, Internet: Foibe has 16 computers which were bought second hand. They are equipped with basic Microsoft software (Word, Excel, Power Point).  All of them have internet connection. They are placed in the library and can easily be used  by as well those living in Foibe as visitors to the day centre.

Training: Basic courses in ICT are a regular part of supply. The courses cover digital banking,  cellular phone, course for those who have never used computers, English with computer

Other: Students from polytechnics have open a Wellness-TV which can be an embryo for  interactive home TVs. Foibe has internal TV, which gives the residents a possibility to get internal information.



Hardware, software, Internet: The problem in making seniors interested in using the internet.

They are afraid of getting Viruses on their computers. But there is no financial problem to acquire hardware. Seniors are afraid of security problems (for instance in e-banking or buying on the Internet) so they prefer using computers at school. The adsl connection does not exist in all places in the area. The cost of adsl is 100 euros/month. German seniors don’t like using mobile phones because numbers are to little to see and they cannot remember or see the long telephone numbers and they do not know how to save numbers.

Training: course is for beginners (explain word by word), 5 afternoons once a week ( 6 euros per afternoon). At the end , people will be able to go to normal course for computers. Special courses for digital camera, photo, training in skype (in future)



Hardware, software, Internet: the cost of hardware has decreased in France. Most of the  middle and upper class seniors can afford to buy a computer (generally laptop). In many cases, their children buy computers as Christmas presents (for example), which, by the way, pushes the parents to begin and learn ICT. As an non-profit organization, we have the possibility to get – nearly for free - second hand recycled computers. And we give for free and install these computers either for private people who do not have the financial possibility to buy their own computer or in public activity centres where we give our courses, when they have no or not enough computers or , also, for welfare organisations. n France the cost of Internet access is approx 30 euros/ month.

And this is the same for all providers (as well ADSL providers like Free, Wanadoo, NeufTelecom, Alice then Cable access providers like NOOS/ Numericable). Some people cannot afford their cost when they have very little pensions.

Training: As for learning how to use these tools, which is one important aspect of the access to modern technologies, there are 2 possibilities :

·         private lessons :

we provide this service in the frame of a governmental politics which is called “Personal services” – especially for old people staying in their homes. The help of the state comes in the form of an income tax reduction of 50% of the price paid for private lessons (for instance , if a senior pays 45 euros to our organisation, he will get back 22.50 euros in paying less taxes or, even, if he pays no taxes he will get the money. – this up to 1000 euros per year. Of course this price is still very high for a lot of people. So , for people with difficult situations , we provide free service at home with the help of volunteer persons.

·         group lessons :

we provide lessons in public cultural or social centres in different places in Paris, when they have a room dedicated to computer use. In average there are 4 to 8 computers in a room. Our courses are done in little groups , not more then 4 students per teacher. The cost is, of course , less than that of private lessons, especially because we are bind to give big discount for people with difficult financial situations by some agreements we have with the public places who enable us to use their computer rooms.

Other: It is an “every days” work , for our association, to find financial help from government, region, town and local authorities, private sponsors because the income we get from group courses does not cover the real cost of the teacher’s salary, even if we have the help of volunteers – because the cost of having one teacher fro only 4 students is very high.




Hardware, software, Internet: In Poland the situation is somehow different because the services are given by a library , as for some others, it is given in or by schools. Computer access is given by Regional Public Library in Krakow and The Business and European Information Centre (part of the Library) which provide help for Seniors to access the database of the library and to get general information about regulations useful for every day’s life .

Training: have been organized for readers of the library to learn how to use their free access to computers and access the library’s catalogue and lending facility database, with personal username access.

Other: In Poland the library courses meet a big demand. It is not a problem to find interested senior people as Krakow is university city and old people are educated. The cost of buying hardware , even for organisations, is still a problem.


Czech republic:


Hardware, software, Internet: Acess to hardware and the Internet is still a problem in the Czech republic because of the high costs. Secondary school EDUCAnet offers special training for seniors where young students of the school are both students and senior teachers. The courses are individual and free. The school offers its seniors Computer Room (14 computers, Internet connection, Scanner, Printer and Copy machine).  Access to the Internet Free access to the Internet for elderely people can by found in Libraries, Third Age Universities, Senior clubs. Some other places (e.g. Cafés) offer free WIFI access. In Pardubice city there is no possibility to get free WIFI access for your home, but it is possible to buy it cheaper.


Training: Computer training for senior project participants covers 50 hours and it is adapted to senior demands as much as possible: the courses are individual (one senior and one students), and takes place either at senior homes or at school, they are slow-paced and senior can say what they need or what they don´t understand. This type of approach is very succesfull.