Today, Tuesday, 8th December 2020, the HSE and Age Action Ireland are launching an older-age friendly guide – How to Use the COVID Tracker App. The guide is part of Age Action Ireland’s Getting Started KIT which supports learning and the use of technology and digital services.
Age Action Ireland worked with the HSE to develop this resource specifically for older people who need some help with online activities so they can use the App as part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr Siobhán Kennelly, National Clinical & Advisory Group Lead, Older Persons, HSE said: “People aged over-65 account for 19% of our population and some are among the most vulnerable to the spread of COVID-19. While people of all ages use digital devices and technology every day, there are still digital gaps for some people and we want to ensure as many people as possible can use the COVID Tracker app. In addition, many healthcare services are now being made available online, using video or phones for some consultations, and we hope to make these services as accessible as possible.”
Welcoming the launch of the guide, Celine Clarke, Head of Advocacy and Communications at Age Action Ireland said: “This year has brought so many changes to our lives, and one of those has been to demonstrate how technology can help keep us connected and protected. We know through our Getting Started digital literacy programme that there are many older people who have felt left out or anxious because they are not online or lacking the skills to use the COVID Tracker App. We hope that by working with the HSE to develop the How to Use the COVID Tracker App more people will be able to use the app. This will help to slow the spread of COVID-19, especially over the Christmas period when families and friends are coming together to celebrate.”
Pauline Matthews, from Cork is in her 70s and is a volunteer with Age Action Ireland’s digital literacy programme. Pauline, who is also the winner of the Social Inclusion and Community Support Volunteer Ireland Award 2020, is already using the COVID Tracker App and said: “I find the COVID Tracker App very useful and comforting. I know it will alert me if I have been in close contact with anybody who has tested positive. It will also alert others if, heaven forbid, I test positive myself! It’s also a great source of information on symptoms, up to date statistics on Covid-19 numbers in every county, and other helpful information. It’s an easy app to use and I am delighted that Age Action has published a guide to make it even more user-friendly. It really does make sense to download it and use it, especially over Christmas.”
People can contact Age Action Ireland by phone on 01 873 0372 and they will post a free copy of the guide to the app which also includes step by step information on how to download an app, how to use WhatsApp and how to connect to the internet. People can also sign up for one to one digital literacy coaching through Age Action’s Getting Started Programme. The information is also available online at: www.ageaction.ie/how-we-can-help/getting-started-kit
The COVID Tracker App is an important tool in managing the spread of COVID-19, speeding up contact tracing. It helps someone who has COVID-19 to alert contacts they may not know personally, so that they can immediately restrict their movements and arrange to be tested. The app also gives user easy access to information about COVID-19 and advice on symptoms.
Dr Siobhán Kennelly added: “As we enter December and the Christmas period, people will be moving around more and the app is a useful tool to help protect yourself and the people around you. We would encourage everyone who can to download the app, which is an integral part of contact tracing, working in tandem with the key public health measures of social distancing, hand washing, covering our coughs and wearing face coverings, helping us to stay safe and to protect each other.”