7 min read
One of the perks living at Stockland Ridgehaven Rise Retirement Village are the wonderful programs on offer.

Good Things Foundation Australia are one of Stockland's partners who offer the Be Connected program.  This program assists our residents to learn new skills and become more familiar with technology.

77-year-old retiree Di Wall has been using her downtime during COVID-19 to stay connected to friends and family – even managing to help celebrate her two-year-old great-grandson’s birthday via video call.

“I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard watching a two-year-old try to blow out their birthday candles over a video call,” Ms Wall said

“Even though I wasn’t physically there, I very much felt a part of the celebrations.

“Technology is a wonderful thing and means I don’t miss out on these special family gatherings.”

Ms Wall, a resident at Stockland’s Ridgehaven Rise Retirement Village, describes herself as quite tech savvy – using her tablet device to pay bills, do online shopping and catch-up with her family and friends.

Ms Wall is one of many Stockland residents to benefit from the Federal Government’s Be Connected program.

Stockland’s Ridgehaven Rise Retirement Village has been awarded a Digital Devices grant under the program to purchase iPads to support its residents to stay connected and prevent loneliness.

The iPads have been loaded with popular social media apps including Facebook, Instagram and Zoom.

Tech angels are also on hand to assist residents through a series of courses.

Krystal Wood, Village Manager at Stockland’s Ridgehaven Rise Retirement Village, said that helping residents to access technology such as iPads and tablet devices has become increasingly important in the current climate.

“While COVID-19 has been particularly challenging for some of our residents, technology has played a major role in bringing them together as a community,” she said. 

“Most of their social activities moved online and they adapted their lifestyles accordingly.

“We hope these courses will build their confidence and help keep them connected to their community, friends and family.”

Recent figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) show that a little more than 20 per cent of older Australians (65 years and over) don’t go online because of lack of confidence or knowledge in accessing the internet.

More than 14 per cent had no access to a computer or mobile technology.

“What we are doing is helping to educate our residents on how to be tech-savvy,” Ms Wood said.

“Improving our residents’ digital skills gives them the tools to access essential information and services and stay connected during this difficult time.”

Watch how our residents at Stockland Ridgehaven Rise Retirement Village are benefiting from the Be Connected program. 

“One of the great benefits of the Be Connected program, residents have the freedom to do it as they wish. They can come down to classes on Thursdays, but they can also do it in the comfort of their own home.” - Krystal Wood, Village Manager