Seniors zoom into digital health
National Seniors Australia’s Capricornia branch is helping older Australians to take ownership of their health records and information online.
National Seniors Australia has long advocated for better conditions and education for seniors, and with Good Things Foundation Australia’s Be Connected and Health My Way grants this has extended to include improving seniors’ digital health literacy.
As part of the Health My Way program, the Capricornia branch ran educational sessions to support people to learn how to navigate online health resources like MyGov and Medicare, access reliable health websites, and protect their personal information online. As the program started in 2020, the 12-week course was delivered via Zoom in compliance with COVID-19 guidelines.
Judi Blanchard, Program Coordinator for National Seniors Australia Capricornia branch, says that feeling confident and secure online were two primary concerns for participants which were addressed by the learning resources.
“Confidence is often an issue. The strong focus of the program is safety, which is very important as this improves confidence,” Judi said.
“The big brick wall was that they were worried about outsiders accessing their medical records. Privacy and security of information were issues. They learnt about scams and how MyGov helps avoid scammers accessing information.”
Even through the challenge of moving the program online because of COVID-19, participants stuck with the course and after completing the 12 weeks felt more independent and capable online. Judi says they are now empowered to, “Venture out on the internet to take ownership of their health and government services,” and have a greater awareness of the convenience of online health services. When telling students about accessing government health services online, Judi told them with a laugh, “Don’t complain about waiting on the phone if you can go online!”.
While the Health My Way program has now officially concluded at the National Seniors Australia Capricornia branch, Judi continues to support her community to improve their digital skills.