eBOOK HELPS SENIORS
Senior citizens around the world are learning how to find their way around the
Internet by reading articles in this free electronic book, Life Begins at 80
.. on the Internet, written by retired Australian journalist Eric Shackle,
and posted on Barry Downs' South African website.
"It's an ever-expanding collection of stories that make us think, laugh,
and learn," said U.S. wordsmith Anu Garg, mastermind of the newsletter A
Word A Day, which goes to half a million subscribers, and of which Shackle
is copy editor.
Hundreds - probably thousands - of seniors enjoy reading the eBook, which
presents four or five new stories on a wide range of topics every month.
The March edition featured articles headlined FIVE LORDS A-FLIPPING AND AN MP
IN A WHEELCHAIR, SPAGHETTI BRIDGES, MAD AS MARCH HARES and
AMAZING GRACE AND THE TRAIL OF TEARS.
The book links dozens of stories Shackle has written in the last two years,
posted on websites in Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, China, England, New
Zealand, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Thailand and the United
From Berkeley, California, Anita Goldstein
told the 82-year-old Sydney author: "I teach seniors (that's anyone older
than I am!) how to use the Internet and email. Another woman and I formed a
volunteer organization called CLICKSILVER -- we go to senior centers, skilled
nursing facilities and residential retirement communities.
"Your website has been a source of much amusement, amazement and awe for
my senior learners. They loved your articles and your website -- and were
mightily impressed with the breadth of topics you cover."
Helen Gelish teaches a basic computer course at the Huntington New York
Senior Center, on Long Island, 40 miles east of New York City. "I had
intended to teach them how to navigate the net by playing in the health and
medicine field," she wrote. "Then I found your site. It's fun and
informative at the same time."
Kermit McKemie, of Concord, California emailed: "Excellent website. Keep
up the good work! I'm active in a seniors' computer club. I plan to identify
your site in a future issue of our club newsletter Press Any Key. Thank
From England, Christine Ball, of Gnosall, Staffordshire, e-mailed: "I
admire your ability to grasp new technology and communicate with people around
the world at such a grand age. I run a goat chat group in the UK (the only one
here at present) but I have members all around the globe (including Oz), one of
whom posted your story to us.
"I write a column for the British Goat Society called Web-Chat and
wondered if I could mention you to encourage other senior members to consider
the benefits of becoming computer literate. So many think they are too old to
learn new tricks!"
Anne Sakai, who teaches English to foreign students in California,
wrote: "I can't believe you are over 80! See how wonderful the internet is?
It makes you younger automatically if you write engagingly. If you didn't tell
me, I would assume you were young. The ageing brain is a marvel. You need to
kick start it but it can work.
"As you say in the preface to your e-book, you were ecstatic when you
'took to' computing. I think as one gets older the keywords are: meaningful,
useful, fun, stimulating and of course, limitless. Older people have more time
to spend on the Internet and computer than young people. I don't see why more of
them don't use it. Oh yes...the part of the brain that learns new things is full
From Seattle, Washington (U.S.) Jack E. Hepfer wrote cheerfully
"Just turned 80 myself and not quite dead -- yet." Another happy
American, Laney Darnell, said "You are terrific! I have six
years to go before I reach the eighty mark. In the meantime, I've gone back to
college and will graduate soon with honors. Who says you can't teach an old dog
new tricks, right?"
Lorraine Skrinak, "blissfully retired in North Carolina" (U.S.)
wrote: "Thank goodness there are actually people over the age of 15 on the
Web -- articulate, funny, interesting people -- and you certainly are up there
in the top 10! I will continue to read what you write... A great, big
'Thanks!' to you and your cohorts for delightful reading!"
From Nanjing, China, college educator Delly Liao emailed: "I am happy to
read your new edition of your eBook. Congratulate you! It isn't easy for you
who are already in his eighties! You are great! I hope more and more people will
read your eBook and enjoy it."
And from Mary Longman: "Just discovered your eBook... It's great, and I
look forward to many happy hours reading and linking to the various sites. I'm
South African born, living in Canada, and love the ability the net has to allow
one to communicate all over the world, quickly and easily."