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Embracing Technology - Helping Seniors Become Tech Savvy

Auckland’s return to a level 3 lockdown this week is a reminder of the essential role digital technology plays in most of our lives, and how important it is for all New Zealanders to have the confidence and ability to connect online.


It enables people to remain connected to friends and family, to do their banking, buy their groceries and other goods online, even when people are being asked to stay home.


Since the beginning of the pandemic last year, ANZ has seen businesses adapt quickly to meet the changing needs of their customers.


Video: ANZ and Age Concern Technology Workshop


During the current lockdown in Auckland, ANZ is continuing to support our community with limited branch opening hours and phone banking support, while trying to reduce the need for face-to-face contact as much as possible.


But many people - especially those aged over 65 - are at risk of becoming isolated if more is not done to ensure they have access to technology and online services.


Ben Kelleher, ANZ Managing Director Personal Banking, says “getting used to new technology can be daunting. That’s why initial guidance and good advice are so important.”


Recognising this, last year ANZ NZ donated $500,000 to Age Concern to create a long-term digital literacy plan to help older New Zealanders use technology, stay in touch with friends and family and safely use online services.



“It’s powerful to see the impact on people when they feel safe and confident online.” 

Ben Kelleher, Managing Director, Personal Banking, ANZ NZ Ltd.



Age Concern estimates 30 percent of seniors - over 200,000 people - do not use the internet (compared to just 3 percent of those aged under 65) and many of these people are being left out as a result.


ANZ’s donation was part of an on-going commitment the bank has to our aging population and to older customers.


Many branch managers have strong relationships with regional Age Concern teams and work with them to help with digital banking needs. This includes organising one-on-one workshops in branches and retirement villages.


Top 5 tips for helping older people embrace technology:


1.       Take it slow!  Remember things that are ‘autopilot’ for some require more thought (and time) for others


2.       Start simple – try playing Patience (or another game) on your phone or computer to get used to navigating the technology


3.       Ask for help – everyone was new to this at some stage.  Friends, family, or your friendly bank staff are happy to guide you through things, and more than once too.


4.       Change takes time; you don’t have to do everything at once.  Maybe just check your balance online for now.  Or make a payment using phone banking.  You don’t have to switch to using technology for everything right away.


5.       Keep safe – learn a few simple tips to keep yourself safe online here.


In January a group of Auckland ANZ staff used their volunteer day to help with a technology workshop at Age Concern’s Avondale branch.


“The aim was to educate them on all things digital” says ANZ Business Development and Initiatives Manager James Narayan; who helped coordinate the day.


“Simple things like boosting a bit of confidence in terms of how they could use their smart devices like iPhones, iPads and laptops, and showing them a bit of the internet.”


John Grogan wanted help with the NZ COVID Tracer app.


“There has been a tremendous fall back in the number of people signing in. I’m not doing it. One of the reasons I didn’t know how to program the jolly thing is my fingers are so big.”


I'll go away a lot more confident and I'll use the thing.”


“It’s powerful to see the impact on people when they feel safe and confident online” says Mr Kelleher.


“This is particularly important with the banking sector’s move away from cheques. We know some customers will be disappointed by this, so the more people we can talk to – and help with alternatives – the better.”


As part of the workshop, participants were also given advice on how to safely monitor and manage their money online with internet banking, and how not to fall victim to online scams.


ANZ Westcity Branch Manager Astrella Fernandes was one of the staff who volunteered.


“We do have customers who walk into the branch with questions. So seeing our elderly engaged today, it was a great, rewarding, experience.”


Laurel Cropp came to the workshop to get help with her smart phone.


“I got one to one service. And patience. It gives me confidence. That’s what I’ve come for. I’ll go away much happier.”


“We were delighted by the support of the ANZ volunteers” says Alexis Sawyers, Age Concern’s Fundraising and Communications Manager. “They had the patience and expertise that is crucial.”


Age Concern runs a number of workshops and activities for over 65’s as part of its Health Promotion Programme.


“The activities in our programme are designed to help seniors stay independent, healthy, safe and engaged in the community” she says.


“Our Technology for Seniors workshop is very popular and crucial as so many things are becoming digital and we need to support Seniors to access them. Technology is also crucial for helping seniors stay socially connected, which is vital especially during the pandemic.”



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