Annemieke Oerlemans, Personal Assistant to the HR director at VodafoneZiggo, was eager to contribute to one of the social projects of the company. The project chosen was Welcome Online. She registered and was paired with Mrs. Hoek, 91 years old. Even though Annemieke cannot physically visit all the time, they stay connected.

Contrary to young people, for whom it is impossible to imagine life without the internet, many senior citizens find it hard to keep up with technology. For that reason, VodafoneZiggo offers the teaching programme Welcome Online, pairing technically capable people with senior citizens eager to improve their digital skills.

Annemieke started with Welcome Online early 2020. In the first week of February, she had her first appointment through the Foundation for the Elderly with her 'match' Mrs. Hoek. Or, more accurately, her second. "The first appointment had slipped Mrs. Hoek’s mind. When I arrived at her doorstep as agreed, a stairlift was being installed. Understandably not the most convenient time, therefore. But despite this minor memory slip and the need for a stairlift, nothing about Mrs. Hoek indicates that she is 91 years old. A spirited woman, still living independently, who is active and knows her own mind. That was proven in our next appointment."

This appointment was clearly noted in Mrs. Hoek’s diary, as she was awaiting Annemieke on the agreed time with freshly brewed coffee. After the initial getting to know each other stage, they set to work. "To be honest, I was surprised by what Mrs. Hoek already knew. Even though she could use some help in hów to use her tablet, at least she was aware of whát the device was capable of. Now all she needed was to be shown the ropes."

Play Rummikub
As it turned out, Mrs. Hoek had been on the waiting list with the Foundation for the Elderly for a match for two years already. In the meantime, she hadn’t given up though. "With some external help and her huge curiosity, she had already managed to get ‘that thing’ going. We started with the first introduction modules of the teaching programme and she quickly caught on."

After completing that, the truth had to come out. Mrs. Hoek had a very specific request. She would really like to play online Rummikub. "Isn’t that wonderful? So, after installing a Rummikub app on her tablet and a second cup of coffee we started playing. We could have gone on for hours, but it became time to go home. When I asked her about a suitable date for our next appointment, she was pleasantly surprised since she thought that my visit was once only."

Stay connected
The corona time, however, threw a spanner in the works. Visiting Mrs. Hoek was temporarily not possible. "That was a shame. Especially because I’d gathered that my reason for being there went beyond instructions for the iPad only, which really made me feel good. The physical visits had been temporarily put on ice. In the meantime we stayed in touch, though, by phone ánd by means of the iPad of course. We stay connected!"