THE BLOG

At 75 I Love My Computer! Don't You?

22/07/2014 17:14 BST | Updated 21/09/2014 10:59 BST

Sitting comfortably here at home working on my laptop I realise that we two have been living and working together for over 25 years! I tend to assume that others of my age have been in a relationship with their PC for a long time too. But sadly when I ask people of my age (mid 70's) all too many tell me they don't "do" computers. I cannot imagine life on my own without my dear computer as my companion!

I check it constantly throughout my waking hours... along with my Smartphone too, on which I can also receive my emails. Both pieces of equipment have many other fantastic functions too! I am mostly self taught and must admit to having learnt a hard lesson or two through trial and error over those 25 years. But like any relationship you have to work at it hard to make it succeed.

Technology is essential to my way of life as a working journalist, broadcaster and public speaker. I write, read my scripts and confirm my working arrangements with publishers or studios. And of course technology helps me keep up with my friends and social life. I'm so happy to receive messages from friends and family living all around the world and particularly love it when any of my four teenage grandchildren contact me. Having a Gran who is a bit techy makes me "cool" in their eyes!

I am very rarely lonely because my life is so full, what with work and involvement with my favourite charities. However I realise at my age that I am fortunate, loneliness is becoming a huge issue amongst the older population. I appreciate what a life line a computer must be to many others living alone.

I'm sad to learn from research by AgeUK that about four out of 10 people aged 65 or over in the UK do not have access to the internet at home, and that more than five million people over 65 have never used the internet at all. What a disadvantage. Human contact is so important in older age and I find it unfortunate that without technology skills so many people are missing out. The result can be loneliness and isolation.

I was interested to read the results of a recent study conducted by www.vouchercloud.com.

They polled 1,934 UK residents who were all aged between 60 and 80 and who all had at least one grandchild, as part of ongoing research into personal finances and influencing factors. They were initially asked 'Do you consider yourself to be 'technologically savvy'?' to which 54% said that 'yes' they did.

A further 22% in the study said that they had 'basic knowledge' of gadgets and technology, whilst the remaining 24% said that they were 'clueless'.

The same survey also that found 63% engaged with Face book and 35% with Twitter. Personally I am resisting both Facebook and Twitter since I am nervous about any further waste of time or intrusion to my private life. I already spend many hours in front of the computer, but being a fitness guru I MUST leave enough time in my life for exercise and activities to keep me healthy!!!!!

Now in my 70's combining both my technical skills and my broadcasting abilities have led me to the "perfect" job. Two years ago I was invited to host a weekly one hour show on a new DAB radio station called 'The Wireless'. The station was designed by AgeUK specifically with those people who were not born yesterday in mind! The unique station has features, celebrity interviews, expert advice and - of course- plenty of music! From folk to jazz, swing-time to classical, pop to rock - there's a little something for everyone.

On my programme called We've Got Mail with tackle older listener's queries and concerns. Diverse problems - which can range from medical conditions, personal relationships to pensions and care homes.

Listeners conversant with computers contact us by email, and by phone, but those not yet "tech savvy" contact us in the old fashioned pen to paper way!

I consider myself fortunate to be "tech savvy" and realise my life is richer from my being so, and I am hopeful this will become the norm for the majority of older folk in future generations. If you are still resisting...don't. I'll guarantee your life will be enriched if you take up the challenge.... to conquer the computer!