Connecting Dots Across Asia's Tech and Urban Landscape
Connecting Dots Across Asia's Tech and Urban Landscape

Virtually Supporting Seniors During This Stay-at-home Period

Online programmes to help seniors pick up using digital skills are now available, including IMDA’s new Virtual Digital Clinic.

It’s been a little over a month since the start of Singapore’s circuit breaker period. As the measures begin to gradually ease up this May, we are now slowly seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

Even so, we must still remain vigilant amid the ongoing COVID-19 situation. Given their vulnerability to the disease, seniors are advised to continue staying at home and observe social distancing measures when outside. In the meantime, they are encouraged to pick up some basic digital skills that could make their stay-at-home stretch more bearable.

With the entire world pivoting to digital seemingly overnight, knowing the basics can help you participate more actively in the current global context—offering a way to connect with loved ones, partake in new online experiences and conveniently access government services.

As with learning anything, some things can seem difficult at first. But with enough practice and a little bit of guidance, you’ll become a digital pro in no time. To give you a hand, we’ve prepared a guide on where—and how—you can get started with your digital journey.

Enter the virtual digital clinic

The virtual digital clinic is a programme that lets you receive help with your digital needs within the comforts of your own home.

The virtual digital clinics will be an online version of the digital clinic initiative (seen above) launched in 2017

If it sounds familiar, that’s because these online sessions are an extension of the Digital Clinic initiative. Launched by the Infocomm Media Development Authority of Singapore (IMDA) in 2017, digital clinics are volunteer-led programmes held at public libraries and community spaces to provide one-to-one concierge-type assistance for anyone who needs help using their mobile devices.

While the digital clinics have since become fully virtual, they still proceed in the same manner. In the virtual version, seniors can book an online ‘consultation’ session with a ‘digital doctor,’ a volunteer who is trained to provide assistance for any commonly used mobile apps or services.

So far, we’ve received positive feedback from the pilot trials. I believe the topics we cover will definitely raise their digital literacy and help them to engage more digitally,” said Mr Moritz Phoa, a volunteer at the virtual digital clinic.

Some of the topics covered during these sessions include e-payment methods, using contact tracing applications like TraceTogether and connecting to Wi-Fi.

Each session lasts for 20 minutes and is conducted through the Microsoft Teams video conferencing platform. Seniors can also select their preferred language, as sessions are available in English, Malay, Mandarin and Tamil.

Currently, the virtual digital clinic is set to run weekly from 15 May to 18 July every Friday (unless otherwise stated), between 2:00–5:00 pm.

The digital doctor is in

Booking a session with the virtual digital clinic requires access to three things:

First, an internet-connected device with both camera and microphone functions, which should already be built in for most portable smart devices, like laptops and smartphones.

Participant Mdm Ang attending a one-to-one virtual digital clinic session via Microsoft Teams with volunteer Mr Phoa.

Next, download the Microsoft Teams software by following the instructions on the site. Finally, you will also need an email address—you can easily set one up using service providers like Google or Microsoft if you don’t already have one.

With these three things ready, you are now ready to book an online session at the digital clinic! Upon registration, a confirmation email will be sent to your specified email address. Once the time to join the session has come, click on “Join Teams meeting” in the confirmation email you received earlier. After that, simply wait to be admitted into the session—just like a clinic!

For a step-by-step guide on how to join the virtual digital clinic and what to do after you enter, download the guides for computer/laptop or mobile/tablet in their respective links.

A digital learning journey

With the virtual digital clinic just clicks away, seniors can feel encouraged to take that first step in their digital learning journey.

Participant Mdm Ang Lay Ting said that one of her greatest fears was being ignorant about technology.

Participant Mdm Ang’s set up during her one-on-one virtual digital clinic session.

Only by keeping abreast with technology will it allow me to engage and stay connected with the community,” she said.

Even during this circuit breaker period, Mdm Ang is learning about cashless payments and other digital services to help her with her daily tasks. “I cannot imagine what it would be like today without digital services available,” she quipped.

Aside from the virtual digital clinics, IMDA has also planned a whole slew of online activities to help you pick up new digital skills during this circuit breaker period.

For example, IMDA is collaborating with livestream celebrity Max Kee, a wholesaler of Lian Hua Seafood, to help pique seniors’ interest in going digital and purchasing groceries online. Starting 19 May, IMDA’s online Digital Pod Learning Series will also be streamed twice weekly to equip seniors with essential digital skills, from using social media to basic photo editing.

If you’ve found this guide useful and want to find out more, visit our suite of online resources on the IM Silver website, and have fun learning!



By Lim Zeng Hao

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