St George Careers Development Centre teaching seniors about digital health literacy

Program Coordinator for St George Careers Development Centre, George Ahern, said over-65s made up the bulk of participants in his digital health workshops. Picture: Supplied
Program Coordinator for St George Careers Development Centre, George Ahern, said over-65s made up the bulk of participants in his digital health workshops. Picture: Supplied

St George Careers Development Centre has been teaching local seniors about digital health literacy, helping them find relevant information rather than relying on 'Dr Google'.

The Centre has delivered Good Things Foundation Australia's Health My Way program for the past year, helping seniors gain the skills to use online government services MyGov and My Health Record, and learn how to find reliable health information online.

Good Things Foundation - a social change charity that supports people to improve their lives through the use of technology - provided the St George Careers Development Centre with a $5,000 grant, a resource pack and Digital Health Mentor training for their staff.

When restrictions eased in Sydney late last year, the Centre restarted their face-to-face program, running nutrition-themed digital skills information sessions in retirement villages around the St George region.

Program Coordinator for St George Careers Development Centre, George Ahern, said over-65s made up the bulk of participants.

"People living in retirement villages are living independently and manage their own health, with some support. We did a 45 minute presentation and online quiz on nutrition in retirement villages with follow-up support in small groups which worked well," he said.

"Some seniors have a background in doing some things online, but they haven't gone to the next step of using it for MyGov. Those who have used MyGov often have not accessed My Health Record."

As a Digital Health Mentor, George was prudent in the approach he used to assist community members to find trustworthy information about their health and wellbeing online.

"I made sure not to give health advice, but ensured we could support people by improving their digital skills so they could find reliable information or know who to ask," Mr Ahern said.

"We made sure they did not just Dr Google, and instead went to official government websites.

"We also looked at the topic of what to do if government websites do not give you the information you need by providing more general support on how to find reliable information online."

Last year, 71 community organisations across Australia were selected by Good Things Foundation to teach digital health literacy skills through the Health My Way program and improve digital inclusion.