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New branch of University of Elderly helps seniors learn technology

SHANGHAI University of the Elderly opened a new branch campus today where senior citizens can learn how to use digital devices to open more channels of communication with the young generation.

The new branch campus is located inside the Shanghai Science and Technology Art Education Center on Zhongshan Road W.

Classrooms are equipped with computers, tablet PCs, digital cameras, smart TVs and even game devices like X-Box to help older people adopt the digital life. 

About 60 people between 50 and 80 years old began courses this month. Bao Aiyi, 62, said she attended the course so that she can better communicate with her son and daughter, who live far from her.

"The children have busy work schedules and don't have time to visit me. Now, I can leave a message on QQ or start a video conversation to see them without traveling across the city," Bao said.

Zheng Lingde, president of Shanghai University of the Elderly, said Shanghai has the highest proportion of older people among China's cities and one in four registered residents in Shanghai is over 60.

Many older people live apart from their children. Many said they felt the bond between family members grow weaker than before as people got busier at work and had less time to see each other.

"Elder education needs to keep pace with modern technologies so that our senior citizens can feel integrated with today's life. As they learn, you can see them become happy, which is important for good health," Zheng said.

The courses at the new campus are currently free to attract more learners.


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