As the world becomes a bigger place, families are more and more often separated by large geographical distances. Kelowna is home to 34,000 seniors, many of whom are living away from their families. The isolation that can happen as a result of separation, can have negative impacts on health and happiness, and make symptoms related to illnesses much more prominent.

Technology can be the glue that keeps loved ones connected. Emails, text messages and FaceTime offer instant connection and that positive, loving interaction can provide a natural cure for loneliness and depression.

Many seniors are given tablets by their loved ones to encourage this type of connection, however with the breakneck speed at which technology evolves, they may find it difficult to keep pace with the ever-changing digital landscape.

Silver Surfers is a tech program developed by students at Okanagan College who recognized that some seniors needed only a little guidance to be able to use technology to better communicate with loved ones. These students put together a 4-week course that teaches seniors basic proficiency in email, FaceTime and the importance of cyber security.

“I think it’s wonderful for the students to come and teach the old folks something for a change. We’ve taught them all we know!” says program participant Joyce Keating. Joyce’s completion of the classes has given her the ability to correspond with her daughter in Edmonton on a more frequent basis via text and email.

There has been significant interest in the program – including from some seniors who wanted to take the classes, but did not yet have their own technology. With a grant from our Community Investment Fund, Interior Savings provided a donation that allowed Silver Surfers to increase their resources, purchasing additional ‘loaner’ iPads and other technology so seniors could still take part in this great opportunity.

As we age, our social ties play an important role in making our golden years… well, more golden.

We’re working, alongside programs like Silver Surfers, towards ensuring that age does not mean isolation and that strong social connections are maintained throughout life. Watch the below to learn more or visit .