95 year old winner of the Silver Surfer IT award, photo from the front page of the Irish Times, Sept. 29, 2009
And a very deserving winner indeed. According to the Irish Times she has mastered a computer which she received from her family last Christmas. She uses the computer to surf the internet, send e-mails, talk to her 7 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren via Skype. She taught herself how to use the computer, she said, through her own “sense of discovery” and also took a class.
The Minister for Older People presented several other awards. One was to a 75 year old woman for being such a dedicated IT learner. She is a volunteer in a local school, teaching the children to knit and sew, and she downloads patterns from the internet and prints them off for her weekly classes. This is fine to present this woman with an award but really I find the wording rather patronising. I feel a bit incensed about this, being slightly over 70 myself. I don’t like being considered an older person for one thing – although I guess I am. And the implication that older people are doing something wonderful if they learn to use a computer. ( Older people are not stupid!) And thirdly, the linking of older people and knitting. It’s true that most older women did knit at some point in their lives and probably no longer do this craft that they were once so good at. I think it’s more for lack of motivation rather than for lack of skill. In earlier years, most women knit for their families. Now there is not that motive of economic necessity. The current trend is for people of all ages, but mainly younger people, to knit with trendy yarns and to knit fashion items as opposed to strictly utilitarian garments