Click here to print this page

Planning Retirement Online

Laterlife Hobbies and Interests

From being a carer to working in the community

Anne Williams, a retired teacher, tells how her computer brought her a new lease of life.


When I worked as a teacher at a comprehensive school I used to see the children using the computer.  I wanted to have a go myself but I was afraid to touch the thing.  They seemed so quick at it.   I was scared I would make a fool of myself and I never dreamt that one day I would get as far as taking a course in desk-top publishing!


I took early retirement five years ago at the age of fifty, and life became very difficult as I was looking after my ailing mother.   I became her carer and as I am on my own, I couldn't get out of the house very often.  You lose confidence when you don't see people very much, don't talk to anyone and don't get out.

The thing that really changed my life at this time was the computer.  When I took the plunge and bought one, it gave me a new interest and broadened my horizons once again.

Because getting out was still difficult for me I decided to take an introductory computer course with an organisation called the Online College.  They have an introductory course on how to get online and use the internet.  They gave me lessons  through the internet and I got very good feedback from them.  You don't do the exercises when you are on line.  It was all so clear and foolproof, an ideal way to learn when you are housebound for whatever reason.

I was able to  email younger members of the family, and feel I was in touch once again.  Shopping, which had become a real problem, was enjoyable on the internet.

I also got involved in producing our local parish magazine - that's why I am learning desk-top publishing, this time at a local college. I enjoyed feeling that I could contribute something to my church and community even though I couldn’t get out.  I work part-time  with Age Concern, coordinating their Handypersons Scheme, organising volunteers to do odd jobs for elderly people free of charge.  My computing skills are useful there, too. I would like to learn more about data-bases next so that I can get rid of the mounds of paper!

I haven't dared to try to go into a chat room, but imagine that they would be ideal for carers or anyone else who feels isolated.

Who would have thought that using a computer at home would open up so many new interests and hobbies for me?  It was the best investment I could have made.'

Roger Atkinson, education director of the Online College, designed this new facility especially for those who are unable to access training because of illness, incapacity, social or economic reasons, location or family ties, those who work antisocial hours, or those who just can't get to and from training facilities.

It is a registered OCR (Oxford, Cambridge and RSA) centre.

The college tries to cater for any special requirements or courses that may be needed by individuals or groups. It has many enquiries from the over 50 age group, and offers an introductory internet communications course for 10, recommended to everyone who wants to familiarise themselves with online learning.
See the website at


To view previous articles in this series - see the laterlife-interest index page



laterlife interest

The above article is part of the features section of called laterlife interest. laterlife interest contains a variety of articles of interest for visitors to written by a number of experienced and new journalists.

It includes both one off articles and also regular columns of a more specialist nature such as healthwise, reports from the REACH files, mother and daughter and a beauty section called looking good in later life.

Also don't forget to take a look at our regular IT question and answer section called YoucandoIT by IT trainer and author Jackie Sherman.

To view the latest articles and indexes to previous articles click on laterlife interest here or above.  To search for articles about a certain topic, use the site search feature below.



back to laterlife interest

Site map and site search


Advertise on

LaterLife Travel Insurance in Association with Avanti