Whiddon Kelso resident Alex Bedwell, 92, enjoys benefits of technology

CONNECTED: Alex Bedwell, 92, is part of an older generation that is using the internet to stay in touch with relatives. He has family in the United States. Photo: PHIL BLATCH

CONNECTED: Alex Bedwell, 92, is part of an older generation that is using the internet to stay in touch with relatives. He has family in the United States. Photo: PHIL BLATCH

NONAGENARIAN Alex Bedwell is no latecomer to the internet.

The 92-year-old resident of Whiddon Kelso has been using the net for more than two decades and finds it just as useful today as ever.

“I'm still not an expert on the computer, but I can get by. And if I get into trouble, I ring my grand-daughter and say ‘hey, what do I do’,” he said.

Mr Bedwell is an example of an older generation that, according to new statistics, is embracing technology and enjoying the benefits.

Aged care provider Whiddon says its Social Isolation And Loneliness Report shows that 2.7 million Australians aged over 65 years use the internet every day and daily internet users are significantly less likely to experience feelings of loneliness than those who log on less often (48 per cent vs 59pc). 

Whiddon says that’s because many of those older internet users use the technology to stay connected with loved ones. 

Mr Bedwell can count himself among that number.

His daughter and son-in-law have retired in Florida in the United States after living in various parts of the world and their three daughters are in Seattle, Indianapolis and St Louis. 

“It has been great to be able to keep in touch with them over the years,” he said.

His son, a retired school principal, and his family are in Sydney.

“I find it great relaxation, too - playing patience and playing games on it,” Mr Bedwell said of the internet.

“I always do a lot of investigating for family history as well.”

He made “lots and lots of mistakes” when he was first using the technology.

”Fortunately, one of my grand-daughters was doing a four-year course up at CSU and was always very handy if I got into trouble,” he said.

But he said there was no need to avoid the internet because it all seemed a bit frightening.

”It’s something that older people should not be scared of,” he said.

Whiddon says its research shows half of all Australians aged over 65 years experience feelings of loneliness.

Not knowing enough people, or anyone, in their neighbourhood is the most common reason for this demographic feeling isolated, according to Whiddon.

But it’s not just the internet that keeps Mr Bedwell from feeling lonely: he said the staff at his aged care home are “exceptional”.

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